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The dangerous work of a home health aide

Working in the health care industry may have its rewards, but there are few positions in the field that do not involve risk. You may find this to be true if you work as a home health aide or personal care attendant in California.

One of the many perks of being a home health aide is that you are able to develop a special connection with a patient and perhaps an entire family. The demand for personal aides is high, meaning you may never lack for work, and this can be a benefit to your family. However, such a demanding job can take its toll on your body.

Your job places you at risk

You probably struggle with the drawbacks of your job. Like many personal aides, you may have long hours, unpredictable schedules, low pay and minimal, if any, benefits. In return, you offer services that may leave you vulnerable to injuries, such as the following:

  • Helping your clients in and out of the tub and assisting them as they bathe
  • Helping your clients dress and undress
  • Assisting your clients as they get in and out of bed or up and down from a seated position
  • Doing laundry
  • Cleaning around the house

If you are injured working as a home health aide, you are one of 5,300 personal caregivers who suffer musculoskeletal injuries each year. However, this number is probably inaccurate since government counts of injuries on the job can be nearly 70 percent lower than the true totals. Additionally, a substantial number of home health care providers are immigrants, and they may be reluctant to report an injury for fear of how it will affect their status.

Helping those who help others

Musculoskeletal injuries result in many lost days from work. However, other risks you may take as a home care worker include contracting contagious illnesses and the increasing threat of violence against those in your profession. You may be shocked to learn that home care providers reported 49 percent of the total injuries due to workplace violence.

Whether from injury, illness or violence, your employer has a responsibility to ensure your work environment is safe and that you have proper training to avoid situations and activities that may cause you harm. You also have the right to financial support through worker's compensation if you do suffer an injury in the course of your duties. Speaking with an attorney can provide you with answers to your questions and confidence that your interests are protected.

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