• The healthcare sector employer’s duty of care: Implications for worker well-being

      McDiarmid, Melissa; Condon, Marian; Gaitens, Joanna (MDPI AG, 2021-06-03)
      Pandemic diseases of this century have differentially targeted healthcare workers globally. These infections include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Ebola. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued this pattern, putting healthcare workers at extreme risk. Just as healthcare workers have historically been committed to the service of their patients, providing needed care, termed their “duty of care”, so too do healthcare employers have a similar ethical duty to provide care toward their employees arising from historical common law requirements. This paper reports on results of a narrative review performed to assess COVID-19 exposure and disease development in healthcare workers as a function of employer duty of care program elements adopted in the workplace. Significant duty of care deficiencies reported early in the pandemic most commonly involved lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) availability. Beyond worker safety, we also provide evidence that an additional benefit of employer duty of care actions is a greater sense of employee well-being, thus aiding in the prevention of healthcare worker burnout. © 2021 by the authors.