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Home health care workers face serious hazards

Health care workers who visit patients in their homes face hazards that other workers do not encounter. The nature of the job is dangerous, but these workers do important work to help people who can't remain at home without assistance.

There are some risks that can be gauged ahead of time that are common for the profession. Here are some that workers should prepare for ahead of time. Employers in field should all have protocols in place to address the situations when they occur.

Risk of illness or infection

Some patients' homes aren't clean. Some might have contagious diseases. All home health care agencies must have specific measures in place to keep workers from getting ill. These can be as simple as wearing gloves when coming into contact with patients or as complex as having to wear full isolation gear. Once the protocol is set, employers must establish specific guidelines about when it must be followed.

Risk of injury on the job

Home health care workers face the risk of being injured on the job. This can come from a car accident on the way to the patient's home, having to do physical tasks like lifting the patient or performing any other job duties. These aren't always easy to prevent, but having safety protocols in place helps.

Home health care agencies should provide information about how workers should lift and transfer patients. They also need to let the workers know what to do if they encounter violence of any sort at the home. When basic housekeeping is offered, the methods for providing this should be covered. The more information workers have, the more they can do to prevent injuries.

Risk of attacks

Some workers are attacked at patients' homes. This attack might come from the patient, another person in the home or an animal. In all cases, there is a good chance that the employee will be injured. The worker may need to seek medical care. Typically, workers' compensation is going to cover these types of injuries. It might be possible to explore other options, but this must be done carefully since they depend upon the circumstances of the attack.

Home health care is an industry that is still likely to grow in the coming years. More and more people will need these services. The workers doing these jobs must be protected from harm. When they do suffer injuries, they deserve compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with on-the-job injuries.

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