With the increasing need for home health care in New York, injuries to home health care workers are also on the rise. These workers face unique challenges on the job largely because they are not working in a controlled, consistent environment.
What is a home health care worker?
Home health care workers bring medical care to a patient’s home instead of having a patient come to a hospital or nursing home. Home health care allows patients who are ill, convalescent, disabled or elderly to remain living in their own homes.
Workers in this field may wonder if they are entitled to workers’ compensation if they become injured at their patients’ homes. As a home health care worker, you should be aware of potential dangers you face on the job.
Common hazards for home health care workers
First, home health care workers travel to meet their patients, which means that they generally spend more time on the road than a health care worker who works at a medical facility. This fact exposes them to increased traffic and transportation accidents and injuries. Workers’ compensation can sometimes cover such hazards. Other additional risks faced by home health care workers include:
- Overexertion from lifting or moving patients without proper medical devices
- Weapons, including guns and knives, that may be in the home
- Extreme cold or heat
- Verbal and physical abuse from the homeowner or in the neighborhood
- Unclean living conditions, such as a lack of running water
- Needlestick injuries, latex allergies and pathogen exposure
- Workplace stress including patient death or disorderly and combative behaviors
- Exposure to animal feces or unclean and hostile animals
- Extreme weather conditions
- Illegal drugs on the premises
Preventing injury or death from common hazards
It is important to maintain your physical and mental well-being in order to avoid fatigue leading to a preventable accident. Employers should offer employee assistance to deal with the added stressors of home health care. Additionally, it’s important to always use appropriate personal protection equipment while working in environments that may be unsanitary or unfamiliar. If you are injured on the job and wonder whether your injury qualifies for workers’ comp, an experienced attorney may answer your questions.