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The risk of violence in a home health care setting

Home health care aides provide a valuable service for people who have health challenges but don't want to have to move into an assisted living facility. These individuals might rely on home health care aides to take care of tasks like helping with personal hygiene, taking medications or monitoring vital signs.

While the aides that provide this assistance are usually treated with great respect and kindness, there are some instances in which making a visit to a patient's home might be risky. There are several reasons for this, so evaluating the situation at each home is important. Here are some points to know about safety in a home health care situation:

Patient evaluation

You must evaluate the patients for conditions that could make them act out in a violent manner. This can happen if the patient has a condition that causes mental decline, such as dementia. It really isn't the patient's fault but special care must be taken in these cases.

Companies should establish clear guidelines about what is acceptable when it comes to client behavior in a home health care setting. One policy that may need to be put in force is that more than one caregiver is required to be present when visiting a patient who has a known violence problem or who is likely to act out due to a medical condition. It should also be clearly stated that if a client and caregiver have a violent encounter, that caregiver should be given the option to stop providing services to that patient.

Unsafe neighborhoods

Sometimes, the issue isn't with the patient, it is with the neighborhood. While the health care company may not be able to exclude specific neighborhoods, it might be possible for them to set safety protocols. This might include limiting the time of day that the company provides visits or having a caregiver team instead of only one individual present when visits to that area are necessary.

Unexpected events

Even in the best areas and with clients you never thought would act out, there is a chance that violence will occur. There should be a clear plan for aides who are attacked or injured while they are at work. This is especially necessary if a person is working solo since it can be hard to get out of a violent situation or to get medical care when you are working by yourself.

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