The first study to establish the risk of COVID-19 to care workers across Wales is to launch today.
The pandemic is thought to have had a major impact on the health of the 20,000 workers who offer personal care and support to the elderly or people with life-limiting conditions in their own homes.
The study, led by Cardiff University, in partnership with Public Health Wales and Swansea University and supported by Social Care Wales, is funded by UK Research and Innovation. It will assess the health of public and private care workers, including COVID-19 infection itself, mental health and other illnesses.
The researchers will combine routine health data and interviews with domiciliary care workers to build an overall picture of how these workers have fared during the pandemic.
It is hoped this will generate quick-fire results to inform public health initiatives for safer working practices and additional support for staff both in Wales and in other UK nations.
“While many people have worked from home during the pandemic, domiciliary care workers have continued working to help and support some of the most vulnerable people in our society right through this unprecedented time,” said Professor Mike Robling, Director of Population Health Trials at Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research and principal investigator on the study.
“We already know from early public health data that the risk of COVID-19 has been greater for these staff than for healthcare workers, in part because their work involves close contact with clients in their own homes.”