Hired to care for those aging at home, many suffer abuse, poor health
Research by Nancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN, and colleagues reveals that homecare workers—frequently employed by older adults who want to live independently—experience substantial levels of workplace violence carried out by the consumer or others in the home. Negative health outcomes like fear, burnout, stress, depression, and sleep problems are a common result.
“Overall, 61.3 percent of female homecare workers in the consumer-driven model experienced at least one type of workplace violence in the past year,” write the researchers in “Workplace Violence Against Homecare Workers and its Relationship with Workers’ Health Outcomes: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Abuse included “verbal aggression, workplace aggression, workplace violence, sexual harassment, [and] sexual aggression.”
By 2025 it is projected that the adult social care workforce could increase to as many as 2.86 million workers. This growth is driven by the aging of baby boomers, increase in life expectancy, and a growing value placed on consumer-centered care, and the desire to lower healthcare costs for recovery and long-term care. The researchers say preventive safety policies and procedures should be put in place, and homecare workers should receive training to boost their confidence in creating and maintaining safe environments and work boundaries. The consumer-employers (patients, families, and guardians) should receive similar training, they suggest.
Publication: BMC Public Health.