Creating a Safe Work Environment for Home Healthcare Providers

How home healthcare workers can protect themselves while on the job.

Because home healthcare providers do not work in a controlled environment such as a hospital, they are exposed to more risk while they are on the job.  In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the injury rate for home healthcare workers is 50% higher than hospital workers.  This is why it’s so important to protect your staff with the right workers compensation for home healthcare.  In addition to securing the right insurance coverage, here are some of the safety tips that workers should employ on the job.

  • Stay Alert

When you work in a patient’s home, you can never be completely sure about the safety of your surroundings.  This is why it’s important to keep your guard up and be on the lookout for potential risks.  Not only do you need to look out for factors that put your patient at risk, but you also need to watch out for your own safety as well.  Even if you have been to a patient’s home before, do not lower your guard.  You don’t want to risk being caught by surprise.

  • Watch Your Step

When approaching a patient’s home, watch out for uneven paving, rickety stairs, or other factors that may pose a fall risk.  When entering a home, keep your shoes on.  This will prevent you from stepping on a nail, stubbing your toe, or sustaining other injuries.  If you are working with a patient who requests that you remove your shoes, compromise by wearing surgical shoe covers over your shoes, or leaving a pair of indoor shoes at the patient’s home.

  • Be Wary Around Animals

If a patient has pets, then you need to exercise caution when they are around.  Even if an animal seems friendly, they can act out if they feel that you are threatening them or their owner.  Do not touch a patient’s animals and, if possible, keep them away while you are interacting with the patient.  This will ensure that they do not interfere with your work or put you in danger.

  • Be Prepared for Aggressive Patients

One of the biggest risks that home healthcare workers face is aggressive and violent patients.  If you know that a particular patient is prone to aggressive behaviors, then there are certain steps that you can take to appease the patient and keep the situation from escalating.  First, and most importantly, you need to remain calm.  Focus on hearing the patient’s complaints and validate their feelings.  Do not respond to them in an accusatory or critical way as this will only aggravate them further.  Keep your voice low and be gentle and reassuring.  Offering a distraction may also help your patient snap out of a delusional or aggressive episode.  Finally, you need to know who to call for help if the situation is out of your control, and a patient is physically harming you.  Do not be afraid to call for backup—your safety is important as well.

These are some of the tips that home healthcare providers should try to stay safe while on the job.  Want another way to protect your staff?  Then make sure you have the right workers compensation for home healthcare in place.  Contact the experts at PMC Insurance Group for assistance with all your commercial coverage needs today.

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