“I found myself alone” – A phenomenological study of the home care workers' experience during the COVID‐19 pandemic
2.21.6 - Le cure e la sicurezza del paziente domiciliare: l’Infermiere di Famiglia come mediatore tra famiglia e assistente familiare
Home care workers (HCWs) are a highly heterogeneous population in Italy in terms of their professional qualifications. HCWs play an important role in helping patients affected by chronic diseases and their families. While many investigators have studied the lived experiences of family caregivers, few have been conducted ‘to give a voice’ to HCWs and even fewer have examined the experiences of HCWs during the present COVID‐19 pandemic. We investigated the lived experiences of HCWs during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. Cohen's phenomenological research approach was used to conduct this study. In our study, we enrolled and interviewed 19 HCWs who were female, and most were married, with an average age of 52 years. The participants were enrolled from September 2020 to November 2020, after the first COVID‐19 wave in Italy. Four main themes emerged from the analysis of the data: (1) ‘I found myself alone’; (2) From invisibility to visibility; (3) A fear of getting sick and infecting others; and (4) ‘Health or work? That is the question’. Understanding HCWs' lived experiences, especially those related to the COVID‐19 pandemic, is a first step in giving a voice to this important but vulnerable population in the healthcare workforce. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.