Essential Long-Term Care Workers Commonly Hold Second Jobs and Double- or Triple-Duty Caregiving Roles

Abstract [from journal]

Objectives: Long-term care (LTC) facilities are particularly dangerous places for the spread of Covid-19 given that they house vulnerable, high-risk populations. Transmission-based precautions to protect residents, employees, and families alike must account for potential risks posed by LTC workers' second jobs and unpaid care work. This observational study describes the prevalence of their (1) second jobs and (2) unpaid care work for dependent children and/or adult relatives (double- and triple-duty caregiving) overall and by occupational group (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or certified nursing assistants).

Design: A descriptive, secondary analysis of data collected as part of the final wave of the Work, Family and Health Study.

Setting: Thirty nursing home facilities located throughout the northeastern United States.

Participants: A subset of 958 essential, facility-based LTC workers involved in direct patient care.

Measurements: We present information on LTC workers' demographic characteristics, health, features of their LTC occupation, additional paid work, wages, and double- or triple-duty caregiving roles.

Results: The majority of LTC workers were certified nursing assistants, followed by licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. Overall, over 70% of these workers agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: "When you are sick, you still feel obligated to come into work." One-sixth had a second job, where they worked an average of 20 hours per week, and over 60% held double- or triple-duty caregiving roles. Additional paid work and unpaid care work characteristics did not significantly differ by occupational group, although the prevalence of second jobs was highest and accompanying work hours were longest among certified nursing assistants.

Conclusions: LTC workers commonly hold second jobs along with double- and triple-duty caregiving roles. To slow the spread of Covid-19, both the paid and unpaid activities of these employees warrant consideration in the identification of appropriate clinical, policy, and informal supports. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.