One of the issues with home healthcare is safety, not only for the people who receive care at home, but also for healthcare workers as well. Home healthcare workers have very little control over their work environments. Home healthcare employees face a significant number of safety risks including:
- heavy lifting
- fatigue (This is the third leading cause of unintentional injuries.)
- aggressive pets
- car accidents on the ways to and from patients
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Services, these risks contribute to a fifty percent higher injury rate in home healthcare positions versus hospital positions.
WAYS TO STAY SAFE AT WORK
In order to avoid injuries, a home healthcare worker must remain aware of his/her surroundings at all times. You never know what will be found in a person’s home, so always watch where you step. Never remove your shoes. Should you care for a person who’s culture prefers that guests remove their shoes, always carry disposable surgical shoe covers.
One of the most common injuries to a home health care aide or skilled nurse is a back injury caused by moving or lifting people. When caring for a person who is heavy or difficult to move, try to utilize the buddy system, so that help is always available to you.
You must keep a steady pace that allows for flexibility in your daily schedule. Then there will be no temptation to use shortcuts. Also be sure to practice good body mechanics.
It is also extremely important that home healthcare workers take their personal safety into consideration. Healthcare workers are faced with unpredictable environments daily and are unprotected by any sort of security system/officers. Following these few simple safety procedures will help reduce the risk of any violence:
- Lock any personal bags in the trunk
- Keep car windows closed and doors locked
- Always let someone know where you are at all times; be sure this person has an exact location; call them before entering and upon leaving.
- Carry an extra car key
- Be sure to have detailed directions to a new person’s home
- Always keep car in good working condition; always have a full tank of gas
- Confirm with patients via phone calls before arriving
- Do not attempt to drive, talk on the phone and read directions at the same time
If a situation makes you feel uneasy, call your supervisor or the police department depending on the severity of the situation. Never enter a home if you feel that your safety is at risk. If once inside, the situation changes and you feel uneasy, do not hesitate to leave immediately. Do not worry about employer repercussions as your home healthcare agency should participate in a zero-tolerance policy for violence.
Should you find yourself having to work in a high-crime area, be sure to visit only during the day. Also try to have someone else that visits with you. One of the best things you can do as a home healthcare worker to protect yourself is to attend a violence protection training seminar. Always report any acts of violence, no matter how small they may seem.
A home healthcare worker never knows what they will confront inside or outside a home. It is up to each individual to take precautionary steps to protect themselves from injuries as well as violence. Always be on your guard and pay attention to your surroundings.
If interested in providing home healthcare, call Texas Prime Healthcare, located in Royse City, Texas. Texas Prime Healthcare offers skilled nursing, home health aides and a variety of therapies in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.