As a caregiver, your primary goal is the health and safety of your patients. However, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Here are some important on-the-job safety tips for home health aides.
Top Safety Tips for Home Health Aides
Home health aides often spend lots of time on the road. You may visit multiple clients each day and/or regularly navigate through unfamiliar neighborhoods. As a result, road safety is essential. Be sure your vehicle is in working condition with emergency supplies on hand. Try to park in well-lit areas and lock your doors and close your windows. In addition, if you need to make a phone call, send a text, or double-check directions, pull over. Multitasking while driving puts you and everyone else on the road at risk.
Watch for Household Hazardous
Whereas hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics have safety standards in place, some homes may not be well maintained. Watch for slippery surfaces, uneven floors, loose carpeting, poor lighting, missing handrails, exposed electrical sockets, clutter, and/or other unhygienic conditions. Keep in mind, these situations not only are dangerous for you but also for your patient. Therefore, search for ways to correct problems. If you find you can’t tackle it on your own, talk to your supervisor or your client’s family.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
As a home health aide, you’ll be busy. But unfortunately, rushing through a task or overexerting yourself can lead to injury. Even when you have an overwhelming list of tasks, identify what’s most important and work at a reasonable pace. Finally, remember, being constantly stressed results in burnout. Thus, no matter how much you must do, make time for quick mental breaks throughout the day.
Between household chores and lifting and moving clients, home health aides have an elevated risk for back injuries. To keep yourself safe and healthy, pay close attention to proper lifting techniques. Use your legs, not your back. Don’t twist when lifting. And, whenever possible use transfer assist devices like lifts or low-friction slide sheets. If you’re finding it difficult to move a patient on your own, have a conversation with your supervisor. They may be able to offer advice and/or send over an additional staff to help you during your shift.
Trust Your Instincts
Home health aides also face a higher incidence of violence than many other careers. You may work in high-crime neighbors or deal with patients who are frustrated, unstable or under the effects of medication. Visiting family members could be argumentative or angry as well. Stay calm and attempt to diffuse any situations. If despite your best efforts you still feel threatened, trust your instincts. Go to a safe area like your locked car and immediately call your supervisor and/or law enforcement.
Are You a Home Health Aide Who’s Looking for a Safer Job?
If you’re searching for a better-fit home health aide position, Anodyne can help. Our recruiters work diligently to place caregivers in roles where they’ll thrive. Check out all our available HHA jobs throughout Massachusetts today!