Care home assaults cause staff pain
Posted Tue, 28 Sep 2010
Care home staff who suffer repeated violence from residents and their visitors are at risk of widespread musculoskeletal pain, a new report claims.
Data was compiled from 920 different grades of staff in working in 12 nursing homes. Most of those questioned were women, and the average length of time they had worked in their current post was 12 years. All were directly involved in patient care and clinical tasks, and no temporary agency staff were included.
The respondents were asked about the number of physical assaults they had received over the last three months, and the level of musculoskeletal pain they were in. Questions also related to the levels of support they received, physical workload, and workplace safety policies.
The prevalence of low back pain rose from 40% among those who had not been recently assaulted to 70% among those who had been assaulted on three or more occasions.
Staff who had been assaulted on three or more occasions were three times as likely to have widespread pain - lower back, shoulders, hands and knees - as workers who had not been frequently assaulted.
"Musculoskeletal disorders are a leading reason for sick leave and permanent disability in most occupations, particularly healthcare. Good workplace safety in nursing homes is likely to protect against this and many other adverse effects of violence," the authors conclude.
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