Caregiving is an essential role that comes with many benefits and connections. However, caregivers must also care for themselves. Safety comes in many different forms — from physical health to different types of hazards in caregiving. You’ll need to tend to your own wellbeing while caring for your loved ones or patients within the home. Luckily, sticking to the following safety tips for home health care workers will help you achieve the right balance.
1. Evaluate the Community
The physical community of where you work can influence your safety. For instance, commuting into the neighborhood or place of residence is your first step every day. If the weather is dangerous, you should make sure the home is still accessible.
Second, caregivers tend to work in a wide variety of places. If it’s your first time working in a new location, you should scout the area to make sure you know the ins and outs. Where are the caregiving resources? Is there a hospital nearby?
2. Check for Hazards
The next step is entering the home or place of work. No matter if it’s your first time working in this location or you’re been there for years, there will always be various hazards in the home. From loose carpeting to exposed electrical to handrails, these types of hazards in caregiving are ones you should watch out for.
Fixing or addressing these issues is critical. When working with residents, you won’t want to worry about slipping or falling. The patient is your focus — injuring yourself in the process is something you can avoid by handling hazards beforehand.
3. Watch Your Health
Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. If you feel one struggling, the other is probably not far behind. Monitor your physical health by making sure you always feel your best. If not, you may need to take the day off. For instance, overexertion can occur easily with heavy lifting, awkward positions, or repetitive actions.
Additionally, sanitation and hygiene are critical to address. Everyone in the home benefits from the cleanest space. Use the right tools to sanitize and clean and you’ll be all set.
Stress can ultimately cause a range of personal health issues while caregiving. Make sure you are engaging in stress-relieving activities and hobbies to keep you going and happy.
4. Have Resources for Violence
Violence is a possibility when working as a caregiver. Whether it’s residents frustrated with being dependent, mentally unstable patients or general anger, you should prepare yourself for potential aggressive acts.
Try not to work alone if possible. About 21% of nurses and nursing students experienced physical assault over the span of a year. When you work with other people, you have help should you need it.
Additionally, always have numbers to call and resources at hand if any form of violence does occur.
5. Secure Your Privacy
One of the more subtle safety tips for home health care workers is ensuring your privacy. If you shift around from home to home a lot, you’ll be in contact with many people. While this change can be a good thing, you’ll also want to be careful of who you share personal information with.
Having a strong network is critical for caregiving. Oversharing, though, is what you’ll need to watch out for. Make sure there are confidentiality agreements in place. With the right precautions, you won’t have to worry.
One of the current biggest types of hazards in caregiving is COVID-19. Working around it requires the best safety precautions — masks, gloves, sanitation, limited contact and social distancing. You will also need protocols for if you or the resident does contract the virus, too. How will you handle it?
If you’re caring for someone with the virus, make sure you keep your distance. Have the same safety protocols, but focus on giving them their basic needs — food, water, blankets, medicine and helping out with their household chores.
With these safety tips for home health care workers, you can provide the best experience for your loved ones or residents. Moreover, you can provide yourself with that same beneficial care. It’s a crucial job that comes with a lot of responsibilities. Following these steps will ensure that you handle it all with grace.
Very informative article Kayla! We forget that, along with seniors, nurses too need care. Frontline workers have done a remarkable job and gone above and beyond their call of duty during the pandemic.