Home health care is a booming industry, and it is growing much faster than many other occupations. The profession is fulfilling, with new challenges at every home. However, workers in this unique field do face risks. The hazards can include anything from overexertion to car accidents to hostile pets. The unpredictability of this profession does deter many people from working in the field. Following are commonly faced safety concerns for home health care employees with suggestions on how to combat them.
5 Safety Concerns for Home Health Employees and How to Keep Your Team Safe
Back injury resulting from overexertion is a common risk for health care workers. To prevent such an injury, have two team members use a buddy system to move a hard-to-lift patient. Is no buddy system possible? No problem. Use transfer systems and assistive transfer devices. It is essential that you communicate the significance of practicing proper body mechanics with your team. It does not hurt to keep medical bags stocked with hot/cold packs and Tylenol® around the office, either.
Exposure to blood-borne pathogens and biological hazards is common in the health care industry. Your crew of professionals can keep safe by wearing protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses when they perform personal care for patients or wound care. Your employees need to have a detailed plan regarding exposure prevention and the measures to take if exposed posted in an easy-to-access location.
It is not uncommon for home health workers to visit unhygienic homes possibly ridden with pests and rodents. Not only can these conditions harbor disease and infection, but they may also contaminate medical supplies and equipment. If these conditions exist, set medical equipment and supplies on a clean surface area and keep personal items such as bags and purses in the car. Have your workers keep their shoes on and wear disposable shoe covers. Wipe down all equipment with antibacterial wet wipes before returning to the car. Of course, disposable gloves and hand sanitizer can prevent further infestation and the spread of infection and disease.
Unrestrained animals pose a threat to home health care workers. If your team members visit a house with pets, it is worth requesting that pet owners restrain the animals or have them wait outside when your employee enters the house. Communicate your concerns to the patient and let them know that these actions are a safety precaution that will help your team member devote their time and attention to their health care.
Home health care workers drive their cars from location to location, which puts them at risk for motor vehicle accidents. To enhance vehicle safety for your employees, institute mandatory seat belt use and implement policies against the use of cell phones while driving. Another great idea is to provide team members with an auto safety kit and blanket to use during a breakdown or accident.
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