Why Most US Home Health Aides ‘Can’t Afford Not to Work’–Even Without PPE

October 16, 2020

(The Guardian) – During the pandemic, home health aides have buttressed the US healthcare system by keeping the most vulnerable patients – seniors, the disabled, the infirm – out of hospitals. Yet even as they have put themselves at risk, this workforce of 2.3 million – of whom nine in 10 are women, nearly two-thirds are minorities and almost one-third foreign-born – has largely been overlooked. Home health providers scavenged for their own face masks and other protective equipment, blended disinfectant and fabricated sanitizing wipes amid widespread shortages. They have often done it all on poverty wages, without overtime pay, hazard pay, sick leave and health insurance. And they have gotten sick and died – leaving little to their survivors.