208594 An examination of violence and unsafe environmental factors reported by home care workers in Chicago

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Lezah P. Brown-Ellington, PhD , Health Sciences Department/Safety Program, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Kathleen McPhaul, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Rosemary K. Sokas, MD, MOH, MSc , Office of Occupational Medicine, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC
Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Home care assistant (HCA) is a generic term which identifies workers who typically assist elderly or disabled adults with daily living activities. HCAs frequently perform duties such as bathing, cleaning the homes, washing clothes, reminding clients to take their medicine, and shopping and cooking.

This presentation will describe the incidence of violence and working in stressful environments reported by 980 HCAs working for family members, non-family, or both categories in the Chicago area. Participants self-completed a survey in a group setting as part of an IRB-approved research protocol. Violence was measured by a question that asked if the HCAs had been scratched/punched/hit in past 12 months and unsafe environmental factors were measured by asking about various activities the HCAs witnessed while in the clients' homes.

Sixty-nine percent of the study participants were African-American, 92% were female, and the average age was 45.5 years old (S.D. 13.6). Forty-seven percent of the HCAs rated their health as very good to excellent. HCAs reported incidences of violence on purpose or by accident while caring for their clients at 7% and 8.7%, respectively. When asked about their work environments, 22% of HCAs reported they felt uncomfortable while visiting a client, 12.8% had been accused of wrongdoing by the client/family, and 8% cared for clients with a history of violence or assault.

Experiences with violence and poor environments described here combined with working alone in uncontrolled atmospheres in clients' homes may indicate the need to address violence in the home care sector.

Learning Objectives:
This presentation will describe the work environment and examine its association with self-reported incidences of violence.

Keywords: Home Care, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be a presenter for this paper because I have researched this topic in my doctoral dissertation research and have been a research associate on the research project which collected this data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.