Violence Against Healthcare Workers in Nursing Homes and Psychiatric Hospitals

By | 2018-01-14T15:49:04+00:00 November 5th, 2010|0 Comments

Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed data on nursing-home employees from the 2004 National Nursing Assistant Survey and learned the following about on-the-job violence:

Thirty-four percent of nursing assistants surveyed reported experiencing physical injuries from residents’ aggression in the previous year. Mandatory overtime (odds ratio [OR] = 1.65; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 2.24) and not having enough time to assist residents with their activities of daily living (OR = 1.49; 95% CI = 1.25, 1.78) were strongly associated with experiencing injuries from assaults. Nursing assistants employed in nursing homes with Alzheimer care units were more likely to experience such injuries, including being bitten by residents.

Violence against healthcare workers is alarmingly common (see this past post about violence in the ER), and nurses and other personal care workers are most affected. A 2008 New York Times article, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, reported that nursing homes and psychiatric units are the most dangerous settings for healthcare workers.

A recent tragedy highlights the risk for psychiatric-unit workers. Last month, Donna Gross, 54, a psychiatric technician at the Napa State Hospital in California, was strangled to death, and a patient from the hospital is being held on suspicion of murder.

About the Author:

Liz Borkowski
Liz Borkowski, MPH is the managing editor of the journal Women's Health Issues and a researcher at the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Her blog posts are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of her employer.

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