Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 Survey: Providing Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Direct support professional standing with man in front of lake.

The Institute on Community Integration and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals collaborated to gather evidence about the experiences of the direct support workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and to inform efforts to better prepare for future waves of this pandemic. The first round of data collection took place in the early months of the pandemic response when there were many unknowns about how to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and direct support professionals. Almost 9,000 direct support workers from the U.S. completed the survey between April and May 2020 with at least one survey received from every state and the District of Columbia​. The second survey, administered online six months after the first, further examined how workforce systems are supporting the direct support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second survey was completed by 8,846 participants. The 12-month follow-up survey was completed between June and July of 2021  by 5,356 DSPs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to questions asked if previous survey, the 12-month survey explored vaccination status, vaccination hesitancy, and incentives provided by employers encouraging direct support workders to get vaccinated.

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Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: 12-Month Follow-up

Full report: Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19: 12-Month Follow-up

Short report: Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19: 12-Month Follow-up.

A 12-month follow-up Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 survey was developed and launched in June 2021. Additional items, including vaccination status and vaccine hesitancy, were added to this survey. 5,356 participants from all 47 states and the District of Columbia completed the follow-up survey. 

State Profiles

Short state-specific profiles of the report were created for states with more than 200 respondents. 

Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: Six-Month Follow-up

Full report: Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19: Six-Month Follow-up

Short report:  Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19: Six-Month Follow-up PDF

A six-month follow-up Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 survey was developed and launched in November 2020. A few additional items, including setting type and demographic information, were added to this survey. 8,846 participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia completed the follow-up survey. About a quarter indicated that they took both versions of the survey, but there was insufficient data to match these participants to analyze results across time. For this reason, the results are regarded as snapshots of DSP perspectives across time.  

State Profiles

Short state-specific profiles of the report were created for states with more than 200 respondents. 

Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: Initial Report

Full report: Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Survey Report 2020

Short report: Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Survey Report 2020

As we learned from friends and colleagues across the country of the mounting challenges in providing supports safely to individuals with disabilities during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important to hear directly from DSPs about their experiences. In response to this need, the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration quickly developed a 27-question survey and collaborated with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals to reach a large sample of DSPs from across the country.

  

Funded by grant #90RTCP0003 from the National Institute on Disability Independent Living Rehabilitation Research and cooperative agreement #90DDUC0070 from the Administration on Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Please contact Jerry Smith with questions.

This survey was conducted jointly between the Institute on Community Integration and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals.