Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Mitigating Absenteeism in Hospital Workers During a Pandemic

  • Andrew L. Garrett, Yoon Soo Park and Irwin Redlener

Abstract

Objectives: An influenza pandemic, as with any disaster involving contagion or contamination, has the potential to influence the number of health care employees who will report for duty. Our project assessed the uptake of proposed interventions to mitigate absenteeism in hospital workers during a pandemic.

Methods: Focus groups were followed by an Internet-based survey of a convenience sample frame of 17,000 hospital workers across 5 large urban facilities. Employees were asked to select their top barrier to reporting for duty and to score their willingness to work before and after a series of interventions were offered to mitigate it.

Results: Overall, 2864 responses were analyzed. Safety concerns were the most frequently cited top barrier to reporting for work, followed by issues of dependent care and transportation. Significant increases in employee willingness to work scores were observed from mitigation strategies that included preferential access to antiviral medication or personal protective equipment for the employee as well as their immediate family.

Conclusions: The knowledge base on workforce absenteeism during disasters is growing, although in general this issue is underrepresented in emergency planning efforts. Our data suggest that a mitigation strategy that includes options for preferential access to either antiviral therapy, protective equipment, or both for the employee as well as his or her immediate family will have the greatest impact. These findings likely have import for other disasters involving contamination or contagion, and in critical infrastructure sectors beyond health care. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3(Suppl 2):S141–S147)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Andrew L. Garrett, MD, MPH, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 215 W 125th St, Suite 303, New York, NY 10027(e-mail: ag2612@columbia.edu).

References

Hide All
1.Chaffee, M.Willingness of health care personnel to work in a disaster: an integrative review of the literature. Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3:4256.
2.Irvin, CB, Cindrich, L, Patterson, W, et alSurvey of hospital healthcare personnel response during a potential avian influenza pandemic: will they come to work? Prehosp Disaster Med. 2008;23:328335.
3.Qureshi, K, Gershon, RR, Sherman, MF, et alHealth care workers’ ability and willingness to report to duty during catastrophic disasters. J Urban Health. 2005;82:378388.
4.Young, CF, Persell, DJ.Biological, chemical, and nuclear terrorism readiness: major concerns and preparedness of future nurses. Disaster Manag Response. 2004;2:109114.
5.Abramson, DM, Morse, SS, Garrett, AL, et alPublic health disaster research: surveying the field, defining its future. Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2007;1:5762.
6.Howe D. National Planning Scenarios. April 2005. http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/nationalsecurity/earlywarning/NationalPlanningScenariosApril2005.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2006.
7.NIOSH Safety and Health Care Topic: Healthcare Workers. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/healthcare/. Accessed September 2, 2009.
8.Balicer, RD, Omer, SB, Barnett, DJ, et alSurvey of local public health workers’ perceptions toward responding to an influenza pandemic. J Healthc Prot Manage. 2006;22:114.
9.Hogg, W, Huston, P, Martin, C, et alEnhancing public health response to respiratory epidemics: are family physicians ready and willing to help? Can Fam Phys. 2006;52:12541260.
10.Lanzilotti, SS, Galanis, D, Leoni, N, et alHawaii medical professionals assessment. Hawaii Med J. 2002;61:162173.
11.Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, US Senate. Nursing Workforce: Recruitment and Retention of Nurses and Nurse Aides Is a Growing Concern. Washington, DC: US General Accounting Office; 2001:22.

Keywords

Mitigating Absenteeism in Hospital Workers During a Pandemic

  • Andrew L. Garrett, Yoon Soo Park and Irwin Redlener

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed