News & Press
Workplace Violence in Healthcare: The Impact on Personal Safety, Recruitment, Retention, and Productivity of Home-Based Health Care Workers
As the demand for home-based healthcare services increases, such as home care, home health, hospice, hospital-at-home programs, and home-based primary care, the risk of workplace violence also rises. Workplace violence is a growing concern in the healthcare industry, particularly for home-based healthcare workers. This blog post will discuss the statistics and risk factors for workplace violence in home-based health care, specifically home health, and its impact on personal safety, recruitment, retention, and productivity of workers, and recommendations for addressing this issue.
Workplace Violence Statistics in Home-Based Health Care
Home-based healthcare workers are at a higher risk of workplace violence compared to other healthcare workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), home-based healthcare workers have a five times higher risk of experiencing nonfatal workplace violence than workers in other sectors. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that 60% of home-based healthcare workers reported experiencing at least one incident of workplace violence in the past year, and over 40% reported multiple incidents. These statistics highlight the urgent need for action to address workplace violence in home-based health care.
Risk Factors for Workplace Violence in Home Based Health Care
Several risk factors contribute to workplace violence in home-based health care. These include working in isolated or high-risk areas, caring for patients with a history of violent behavior, providing care during times of stress, and working alone or with a limited number of coworkers. Additionally, factors such as inadequate training on personal safety and security, lack of policies and procedures for reporting incidents, and a culture of tolerance for workplace violence contribute to the problem. It is crucial for decision-makers, leaders, and executives in the healthcare industry to address these risk factors to protect their employees from workplace violence.
Impact on Personal Safety, Recruitment, Retention, and Productivity of Home-Based Health Care Workers
Workplace violence has a significant impact on personal safety, recruitment, retention, and productivity of home-based healthcare workers. Exposure to workplace violence can result in physical injuries, psychological trauma, and increased stress levels. These factors can result in difficulty recruiting home-based healthcare workers. It may additionally lead to increased absenteeism, turnover, and reduced productivity, which can ultimately impact the quality of care provided to patients. Furthermore, the cost of turnover and retraining can be significant, making it imperative to address workplace violence to improve retention rates and reduce costs.
Legislation Related to Workplace Violence in Healthcare:
Several laws and regulations have been enacted to address workplace violence in the healthcare industry. In 2016, OSHA issued guidelines for preventing workplace violence in healthcare and social service settings. These guidelines provide a framework for identifying and addressing workplace violence risk factors, as well as recommendations for training, reporting incidents, and implementing violence prevention programs.
Additionally, some states have implemented legislation requiring healthcare facilities to have violence prevention plans and protocols in place. For example, California enacted legislation in 2014 requiring healthcare employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans that include staff education and training, procedures for responding to violent incidents, and protocols for investigating and reporting incidents.
Best Practices, Policies, and Solutions:
Several hospitals and home-based healthcare agencies have implemented best practices, policies, and solutions to address workplace violence in healthcare. These include:
Implementing Personal Safety Measures: Healthcare facilities can implement personal safety measures to protect workers from workplace violence. These measures may include the use of personal alarms, panic buttons, or GPS tracking devices to help workers call for assistance and/or be easily located in case of an emergency.
Providing Training on Personal Safety and Security: Healthcare facilities can provide workers with training on personal safety and security to help them identify potential threats and respond appropriately. This training may include topics such as situational awareness, de-escalation techniques, and self-defense. Local law enforcement agencies are often very willing to provide free classes to educate home-based healthcare workers about local gangs, areas with high crime rates, and ways to assess each area for safety prior to conducting a home visit.
Creating a Culture of Zero-Tolerance for Workplace Violence: Healthcare facilities can create a culture of zero-tolerance for workplace violence by implementing policies and procedures that demonstrate a commitment to preventing and addressing workplace violence. This may include providing workers with clear reporting procedures for incidents of workplace violence, conducting regular safety assessments, and providing ongoing training on violence prevention.
Implementing Violence Prevention Programs: Healthcare facilities can implement violence prevention programs that include risk assessments, safety audits, and the development of safety plans. These programs should involve all workers, including management, frontline staff, and security personnel. In addition to a risk assessment, each agency should also evaluate its readiness to respond and mitigate harm.
Providing Support for Workers Who Experience Workplace Violence: Healthcare facilities can provide support for workers who experience workplace violence. This may include offering counseling services, providing time off to recover from physical injuries or emotional trauma, and offering workers’ compensation benefits.
Workplace violence is a growing concern for home-based healthcare workers, with significant impacts on personal safety, recruitment, retention, and productivity. Legislation and guidelines have been enacted to address this issue, and healthcare facilities can implement best practices, policies, and solutions to protect workers and prevent workplace violence. This can include implementing policies and procedures for reporting incidents, providing training on personal safety and security, and creating a culture of zero-tolerance for workplace violence. By taking action to address this issue, healthcare facilities can create a safer environment for workers, improve recruitment and retention rates, and enhance the quality of care provided to patients.
Employers who invest in their employees have employees who invest in their companies. As a result, as employee engagement increases, patient outcomes increase. Safety is a fundamental right of each employee and is pivotal to staff and patient success.