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Why Healthcare Workers Need to Stay Home When They're Ill


Matt Linam, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, stresses the importance of healthcare workers staying home when they’re ill.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Trying to get healthcare workers to stay home when they’re ill is a big challenge and I think it’s a challenge for all hospitals. There’s this ingrained mentality that ‘we need to work,’ ‘we need to be there,’ there’s staffing challenges that are sometimes very real, and in some cases we’ve actually created a system that penalizes healthcare workers for staying home. So, in order to really try to get healthcare workers to stay home when they’re ill, we really need to be more conscious about the system we’ve created.

Make it very clear when healthcare workers are too ill and when they need to stay home and for some things like fever that’s really cut-and-dried, but for some things like respiratory illness, or respiratory symptoms, it’s not as clear, but when we can make those definitions as clear as possible and create strategies that don’t penalize or create policies that don’t penalize staff for staying home when they’re symptomatic, and help get healthcare workers home when they’re ill, that can help that problem but healthcare workers have been shown to be sources of outbreaks for respiratory viruses, so it’s really important for them to stay home.”
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