Physical contact with patients endangers psychiatric workers
Injuries can happen in any profession, but few occupations are at greater risk for experiencing assault than workers in psychiatric hospitals. Violence was the leading cause of injuries among psychiatric and substance abuse hospital workers in 2015. More than one-half of these violent incidents were intentionally committed by another person. These workers perform important but hazardous work during each shift.
A psychiatric patient at Stanford Hospital seriously injured a nurse in March of 2019. The patient then injured another nurse attempting to be a good Samaritan by breaking up the first assault. The patient faces possible battery and elder abuse charges because one of the nurses was in her 70s.
Other psychiatric care employees have long experienced many forms of physical violence in the workplace. Bites, punches or other physical harms caused by patients are common concerns for these workers. These events have even resulted in the death of hospital workers.
Take caution making physical contact with patients
Patient-facing workers are statistically at risk for a workplace injury anytime there is physical contact with a patient. The most frequent source of injury claims overall stem from actions that involve moving or lifting patients. Hospital workers are at-risk for an intentional or unintentional injury each time they make physical contact with a patient.
It’s often the case that healthcare workers pursue their profession by a desire to help and serve others. They work long hours and expose themselves to numerous hazards in the workplace. Those working in psychiatric care not only subject themselves to incidental injuries but frequently face the potential for physical harm every day.
Following expert recommendations for properly lifting patients is a way to limit some of these injuries. OSHA also provides guidelines for healthcare workers to protect themselves from patient assaults These are great places to start for workers concerned for their on-the-job safety.