Working in a long-term care facility offers a unique blend of challenges and rewards. You get to make a real difference in the lives of residents who rely on your skills and compassion for their day-to-day needs. As rewarding as it is, the work also comes with risks that could affect your health and well-being.
Being aware of these risks is the first step in mitigating them. Consider these common dangers you may encounter while working in a long-term care facility.
Injuries from lifting residents
Lifting and transferring residents come with the risk of back injuries and muscle strains if not performed correctly. It’s crucial to adhere to proper lifting techniques and use any available mechanical aids to minimize this risk.
Exposure to bodily fluids
You’ll likely encounter bodily fluids such as blood, saliva or urine in your role. This exposes you to the risk of infections or even disease transmission.
Chance of contagious illness
Long-term care facilities can be a hotspot for the spread of contagious illnesses like influenza or other respiratory infections. Maintaining good hand hygiene is critical to reducing this risk.
Slips, trips and falls
The fast-paced nature of this job and your work environment can make you susceptible to slips, trips and falls. Factors like wet floors, clutter or poor lighting can contribute to these incidents.
Violence from residents or family members
Though a sensitive subject, it’s essential to acknowledge the risk of aggression or violence from residents or their family members. Emotional stress or cognitive impairments in residents can contribute to unpredictable behavior.
The onus is on your employer to ensure a safe workplace. If you suffer an injury at work or are exposed to fluids at work, report the incident immediately to your employer and speak to an attorney knowledgeable in Workers’ Compensation law. You may be able to claim workers’ compensation to cover your medical costs, wage loss, and any long term effects of the injury or exposure.