Homecare Workers at Risk

Why the risk?
Homecare provides the consumer employer, often the elderly and disabled, in our community with autonomy and independence. But this care may also increase Homecare Worker’s (HCW’s) risk for workplace violence and sexual harassment due to their unique work setting in which:

  • The workplace is the consumer employer’s home – open to their family and friends, and,
  • It is limited and difficult to enforce workplace safety policies in this employer’s home.

What are we doing?

1. Under the leadership of Johns Hopkins University, and in partnership with CROET at Oregon Health & Science University, SEIU Local 503, Oregon Homecare Commission, Women Strength, University of Oregon, and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, we conducted statewide focus groups/interviews and surveys to determine the prevalence of workplace violence and sexual harassment in Oregon’s HCWs.

Survey findings indicate: More than 50% of interviewed HCWs (n=1201) experienced one form of workplace aggression, workplace violence, sexual harassment, or sexual aggression in the last year.

  • These experiences were associated with negative work and health outcomes for the HCW.
  • Evidence that HCW confidence to prevent or intervene may buffer the impact of aggression and sexual harassment.

2. We developed and delivered training aimed at increasing HCW confidence through de-escalation techniques. The training is a combination of computer-based and in-person training that was provided to 320 HCWs throughout Oregon. It teaches definitions of workplace violence and sexual harassment, prevention and assertiveness, warning signs and de-escalation strategies. Currently we are conducting follow-up surveys with participating HCW on training effectiveness. The goal of this research is to improve health and safety for HCWs resulting in quality care for consumer employers.

Computer-based training class.

In-class training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This research study is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with Principal Investigators Dr. Nancy Glass (Johns Hopkins University) and Dr. Kent Anger (OHSU) and currently coordinated by Naima Laharnar (Research Associate at OHSU) and Dr. Ginger Hanson (Senior Research Associate at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health).

Submitted by Naima Laharnar, CROET Research Associate

Resources:
CROETweb sub-topic: Homecare

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Workplace safety isn’t just for manufacturers, warehouses, and construction. Employees in multiple disciplines face safety issues on the job. It will be very interesting to see what the results of the study are. Hopefully they can help other industries implement similar safety training programs.

About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences (formerly CROET) and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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