Working as a home health care aide is a commendable and fulfilling job. You play a vital role in the health care industry. But there may come a time when your job causes you to get hurt. According to a recent study, 13 percent of home health care workers suffered an occupational injury in the last year.
You face a variety of on-the-job hazards that are unique to private homes as compared to nursing homes or hospitals. Being aware of these risks and learning about safety tips will reduce your risk of sustaining an injury. Here are the ways you are most likely to suffer from a workplace injury as a home health care aid.
1. Patient handling
One of the core job duties of a home health care worker is to physically handle patients in any way that is necessary for care. For example, you may need to lift a patient who struggles with mobility issues. Lifting and transferring patients can take a toll on you, especially if they are heavy. This can result in back injuries and strains. Use assistive devices whenever they are available to reduce the strain on your body.
2. Fall hazards
A private home is drastically different than a nursing home. There are no custodial or janitorial workers in a private residence. You may encounter a variety of hazardous circumstances that can make you slip, trip or fall. This includes wet floors, uneven flooring, poor lighting and clutter. Clean up any potential hazards to reduce your risk of falling.
3. Pets and animals
Pets are rarely an issue in elderly care facilities, aside from service dogs and emotional support animals. And while pets in private residences may be cute and some may cheer you up, they can also pose a risk. Some pets can be protective, vicious or simply untrained. This can result in you getting bites or scratches. Avoid contact with animals unless you are both familiar with one another.