Injuries in the home care settings are a serious risk for agencies and care providers alike. It has been a longstanding fact that the number of injuries that occur in home care is much higher than those that happen in hospitals. What are those risks? They include: falls, over exertion, joint or muscle strains, angry pets, and accidents.
Tips to Prevent Workplace Injuries Among Care Providers:
Keep Safety Top of Mind
By constantly reminding care givers about the need for safe care practices, initial training or employment handbook policies can become habits. You can take this beyond the obligatory posters and slide shows by creating short videos, illustrating dangerous situations and telling stories about caregivers that identified a risk and did something to help alleviate the problem.
Whatever communication method your caregivers prefer – text, email, or even snapchat and instagram can become a safety training communication vehicle. Send out reminders and tips on a regular basis.
Reward Strong Safety Records
Just like a construction site, create rewards for care providers who stay safe and celebrate that achievement. Since they (and you) are not in control of the environment into which they travel, vigilance on their part is one of the best prevention methods. Even a small incentive like a Starbucks Coffee or a pin for their uniform can go a long way toward encouraging safety.
Lean on your Insurance Agency
Many insurance agencies offer prevention training resources. Ask them what they can do to provide training materials or ideas that you can pass on to your care providers. Also ask about specific trends they are seeing in home care injury. It’s in your interest, and theirs, to foster a safe and healthy workplace.
Encourage Healthy Lifestyles
Care providers who aren’t getting enough sleep, or who have poor nutrition habits, are less likely to be vigilant in the home. Being alert and focused is a key part of workplace safety. Making this practical for direct care workers can mean helping them be more effective with the responsiblities they have outside of work. Sharing fast and nutritious recipes, even creating a quick and healthy meal contest can create encouragement toward better health. For more sedentary assignments where sitting all the time is a temptation, providing some training and reinforcement about how frequently to stand and move can also result in more vitality.
Create Safety Sayings for Your Organization
Turning key safety ideas into sayings that are used throughout your organization can help keep safety in focus. While many of these may seem a bit corny, like, “Pencils have erasers, mishaps don’t,” you can make the sayings fit your company culture. You can have fun with these sayings, even create cartoons that go with them (try fiverr.com for low cost cartoons). You may even want to adopt a saying or two in some of the predominant languages from your care givers home culture. Employees may chuckle about how corny the sayings are, but their awareness will be heightened nonetheless.
Create a Phone Call Safety Round Up
Since most of your caregivers aren’t available at the same location, you can use a monthly or quarterly conference call to provide a safety round up. This allows you to tell stories about risks and solutions while reinforcing important practices. You can use a free conference call system like FreeConferenceCalls.com or Startmeeting.com and for a few dollars record the call for those who missed it or were working. When you tell real stories, it reinforces the personal responsibility that each care giver has for personal workplace safety.