Background: There are increasing opportunities for COVID-19 vaccination; yet, low vaccination rates are present in the long-term care (LTC) workforce. Approximately 4.5 million Americans work in LTC positions as care aides, clerks, cleaning staff, and other direct support professionals. LTC workers perform essential tasks including preparing meals, administering medication, and transporting patients to appointments. While they provide essential care, LTC workers receive less education and earn lower incomes than other healthcare professionals. They are also more likely to be women of Black and Latino race or ethnicity. Because of their frequent contact with patients and other staff, it is essential that these workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent spread of the virus. Due to the lack of attention paid to this important group, coalition building with invested partners is essential to develop creative solutions for informed decision making and increased vaccine uptake.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: We propose building partnerships among four interrelated sectors: (1) LTC workers, (2) technical schools that train current and future LTC workers, (3) medical experts, and (4) researchers. We will create a skilled community that is knowledgeable on this topic. The project’s primary location is the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.
Objectives: The primary objective of this proposal is to build capacity for future PCOR/CER. The result will be a team of invested partners working collaboratively (aim 1) to write research questions and prepare the necessary infrastructure to conduct PCOR/CER (aim 2).
Activities: To achieve these objectives, patients and stakeholders will develop a communication plan and create an organizing structure. Meetings and workshops will be held to learn about one another’s unique sectors and skills.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: In the short term, during the project period, we will build relationships and collaboration among LTC workers (patients), representatives from technical schools, medical professionals, and behavioral health researchers. We will define our roles with shared governance, attend meetings and workshops, and complete a final report. Medium-term project outcomes include the submission of an application for funding of a PCOR/CER project that incorporates competencies of partners who are invested in addressing COVID-19 vaccination decision making in the LTC workforce. In the long term, a research study will be completed and results will be reported. The public health significance will be increasing satisfaction with COVID-19 vaccination decision making and vaccine uptake in the LTC workforce.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: We will bring together patients and stakeholders to build relationships, establish a communication and governance structure, and build the research capacity needed to identify, implement, and disseminate effective approaches to this problem.
Project Collaborators: Researchers at the University of Delaware are leading this engagement project alongside LTC workers (patients), LTC professional organizations and advocates, technical schools that train LTC workers, medical doctors, and public health professionals.