Study Examines Risk of Job-Related Violence for Home Healthcare Workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting a research study to better perceive on-the-job risks to home healthcare staff from work-connected violence, and how to cut back those risks.
A safe, trained, secure, and motivated home healthcare manpower is important for efficient and high-quality healthcare delivery. The aging of the Baby Boomer generation is predicted to extend the necessity for home healthcare staff. Care provided in the home saves healthcare greenbacks for patients and their families, but the work is tough for the practitioner. These workers tend disproportionately to be ethnic minority ladies who might themselves lack health insurance.
Recruitment and retention are linked to job satisfaction, half of that depends on operating in a very safe setting. During a recent Columbia University study, forty eight p.c of Registered Nurses reported three or more stressful household conditions in their current caseload, as well as unsanitary conditions, unsafe conditions conducive to slips/ journeys/ falls, presence of aggressive pets, poor lighting, neighborhood violence/ crime, drug use in homes, and racial/ ethnic discrimination.
Within the NIOSH study, survey responses from sixty seven7 home healthcare aides and nurses were used to explore factors associated with violence against home healthcare workers by their patients. Whereas previous research has addressed home healthcare violence generally, without specifying perpetrators (patients themselves or others in the house) or kinds of violence (physical abuse or verbal abuse), this is often one among the primary scientific studies in that researchers focused specifically on physical assaults by patients on workers.
“By pursuing this line of inquiry, we hope to come up with information that can help to boost safety for employees and patients alike,” said Traci L. Galinsky, Ph.D., the lead investigator for the study. “Based on accessible knowledge from earlier research, this approach addresses an issue of nice concern for our stakeholders, and holds promise for leveraging safety interventions that have proven successful in other healthcare settings.”
The preliminary results were presented last April at the 2009 Safe Patient Handling and Movement Conference at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Detailed results from the NIOSH study of violence in home healthcare are being ready for peer-reviewed journal publication in early 2010. The preliminary results included these findings:
Thirty-one (four.6 %) of the survey respondents reported having been assaulted (hit, kicked, pinched, shoved, or bitten) by a patient one or more times during the past twelve months.
Certain factors were predictive of risk of physical assault by patients: patient handling (lifting/moving/bathing/dressing), caring for patients with dementia, and feeling threatened by violence from others in and round the patients’ homes.
Staff who had been assaulted by patients were generally a lot of seemingly to shorten visits when feeling threats to their safety. Shortening visits in those circumstances is a justifiable strategy for safeguarding employees, but it inevitably reduces the quality of patient care.
An space for further study urged by the preliminary findings would be analysis on strategies for preventing injuries from home healthcare patients, and significantly from patients with dementia, the researchers counsel. One promising intervention involves the use of ergonomic assistive devices like hoists for lifting and moving patients, that has led to reduced violence by nursing home patients in previous NIOSH research. Although the advantages of ergonomic patient handling devices are well-demonstrated in hospitals and nursing homes, they need not been used much in home healthcare. In addition to the potential for reducing assaults by patients, these strategies are designed to reduce work-connected overexertion injuries from manually lifting patients, and to forestall patient falls and connected injuries.