1. McEnroe-Petitte, Denise M. PhD, MSN, RN, FAADN

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Hospitals have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, but research by Rowe et al. (2020) suggests that home healthcare agencies have also been dealing with effects of COVID-19 since early in the pandemic. To date, the focus of research and education has been on providing effective hospital-based care, understanding stressors experienced by healthcare providers, identifying and treating complications of the virus, preventing morbidity and mortality, and developing a safe and effective vaccine. There is a critical need for additional research on the care of community dwelling patients with COVID-19 and to establish home-based protocols for infection prevention and control in the home.


There are unique challenges with regard to infection prevention and control measures in the home. For example, social distancing is one of the most important recommendations for control of the spread of the coronavirus. This has important ramifications for both care in the home as well as training of new home care employees (Harrison & Webb, 2020). We know little about how this disease process affects workers who provide care in the home, or the family members and caregivers who live or work in the home. Rowe et al. (2020) surveyed home care agencies about the impact of COVID-19 on their agencies with results emerging in three themes. First, there were staffing challenges, with frequent "call-ins" and difficulty recruiting new employees. The second theme revolved around changing patient needs. For example, family members were more available to provide care because they were now working or studying from home. Patients were reluctant to have outsiders enter their homes and senior residences no longer were permitting outsiders to enter their buildings. Finally, there were business challenges-lack of personal protective equipment, a decrease in demand for services, and lack of government issued guidance. All three of these areas deserve focused attention to ensure patient and worker safety as well as sustainability of home care agencies.


The International Home Care Nurses Organization (IHCNO) urges home care nurses and managers to contribute to an urgently needed body of evidence on COVID-19 in home healthcare as it relates to infection prevention and control, worker safety, worker training, and financial sustainability of home care agencies. A solid research base is necessary to develop evidence-based policies and procedures and to provide quality care with positive patient outcomes. It also brings value to our important nursing specialty. This call for research studies is an opportunity to further develop nursing interventions and to control the spread of the virus in the community. We also need to advocate for governmental support and guidance, as well as political support through legislation. The IHCNO invites home care nurses to conduct and/or participate in research studies that contribute to helping us all be better prepared to provide the care needed to care for patients with COVID-19. Visit our website at




Harrison D., Webb J. (2020). Moving and handling solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on a caregiver's ability to carry out their role in home care. International Journal of Safe Patient Handling, 10(2), 55-58. [Context Link]


Rowe T. A., Patel M., O'Conor R., McMackin S., Hoak V., Lindquist L. A. (2020). COVID-19 exposures and infection control among home care agencies. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 91, 104214. [Context Link]