Providing Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Results - DSP COVID-19 Experiences
Additional Hours Worked Per Week
Respondents reported the average number of hours worked per week in January 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent of this was to understand the impact on the number of work hours and staffing patterns before the pandemic. In January 2020, 5% of DSPs worked less than 15 hours per week, 12% worked 16 to 30 hours per week, 45% worked 31 to 40 hours per week, 26% worked 41 to 50 hours per week, and 13% worked 51+ hours per week. Respondents were asked how many additional hours they now worked per week as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are depicted in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Percentage of respondents working additional hours per week due to the COVID-19 pandemic
31 or more
Twenty nine percent worked one to 15 additional hours per week, 10% worked 16 to 30 additional hours per week, and 15% worked 31 + additional hours per week. Forty five percent did not work any additional hours per week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two percent were laid off, furloughed or the program in which they worked was closed. Participants were also asked to check all that apply to a list of ways that the pandemic impacted their work schedule. The following reasons were offered:
- 34% working more hours per week,
- 33% working the same hours per week,
- 30% working different shifts,
- 29% working in different settings,
- 18% working less hours per week,
- 2% working remotely/telehealth/virtual
- 2% furloughed/laid off/unemployed/facility closed, and
- 2% had other work schedule changes.
Other schedule changes included: additional responsibilities/different roles, worked with different staff/worked alone more, on-call, no travel/less travel/extra travel, safety protocols for pandemic (additional cleaning, PPE assignments, etc.), hard to get paperwork/office work done, and new employees struggled to start a job in a pandemic.
Pandemic Impact on Turnover
When asked whether they were short-staffed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 26% of DSPs said their organization was more short-staffed than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 34% were short-staffed before the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to be equally short-staffed. Forty percent were not short-staffed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty-six percent of respondents said their organization was more short-staffed than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hiring Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In spite of staff shortages and additional stresses caused by staff leaving their positions due to the pandemic, less than ¼ of DSPs (22%) reported new staff had been hired during the COVID-19 pandemic. When new staff were hired because of the pandemic, 28% said new staff received typical orientation and preservice training, 45% said they received the typical orientation and pre-service training as well as safety training related to the pandemic, and 27% said the typical orientation and preservice training were not done.
Provision of Personal Protective Equipment and Safety Measures
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used by people to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19. It is supposed to be used by all essential workers. PPE was in short supply as the pandemic began. At the time of this survey, practices related to providing and using PPE were in flux. Respondents were asked to report on the provision of gloves and types of facemasks provided. Figure 7 depicts the provision of these types of PPE as reported by respondents.
Other safety measures were provided by some employers. Participants reported the types of safety measures put into place by their employers. The safety measures reported included:
- 72% posted signs on proper handwashing,
- 67% were provided training on health and safety,
- 66% had temperatures taken before shifts,
- 59% posted signs on social distancing,
- 10% provided access to COVID-19 testing, and
- 10% said other safety measures were provided by their employer.
Other safety measures provided by employers included: communication (e.g., blogs, hotline), emails/surveys/questionnaires about their health/symptoms, checklists/guidelines for cleaning, extra cleaning, additional cleaning supplies, different schedules to minimize contact, work from home, closed facility/program for now, social distancing, visitor restriction, and taking client temperature. Some said there were no safety measures provided.