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Developmental Disabilities and COVID-19: A Bad Combo

Posted by Brian Spence on Jul 6, 2020 3:03:08 PM

COVID-19, Developmental Disabilities, Behavioral HealthThis pandemic has taught us a lot about how vulnerable parts of our society are. It famously affects older folks far worse than folks under 50, and it hurts certain sections of the economy more than others. Now, another group has been found to be in even more danger from Covid-19, and that group is people with developmental disabilities.

The Problem

Developmental disabilities seem to make contracting the disease more deadly. For instance, as of June 3rd, the death rate over all from Covid-19 in Pennsylvania was 8%, but among people with developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania, the death rate was 14%. They seem to contract the infection at 2.5 times the rate of others as well.

There are likely two reasons for this:

  1. Many people with developmental disabilities already have pre-existing health conditions, such as respiratory illness. This makes the case they get worse.
  2. 13% to 20% of people with developmental disabilities live with roommates or in group homes, where staff and other people's family members are constantly popping in and out.

None of this is helped by how hard it is to acquire personal protective gear such as masks and gloves for the staff of group homes for developmental disabilities, or that the staff members are only sometimes paid bonuses for their jobs.

How We Can Help

Trained staff for these homes is more critical than ever. In the long term, there will have to be lobbying for increased funding for personal protective equipment and the people to staff the homes so that they don't have to work in more than one home. In the meantime, the staff of group homes and independent living support staff can educate themselves and others about avoiding cross-contamination and infection.

More than ever, medical personnel are in high demand. If you are looking to hire the quality talent that will protect your charges, contact us.

To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.


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Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.