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Patient care is a leading cause of injury for hospital workers

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Working in a hospital is a surprisingly dangerous career choice. Hospital employees have more injury risks than people in a variety of other professions. Quite a bit of that risk comes from patient care.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals spend a large portion of their time at work meeting the immediate needs of those dependent on others. They often have responsibility for dozens of people per shift, any of whom may need immediate support at any given time. Unfortunately, the need to provide care for patients is a big part of why medical careers are so dangerous.

Patients have gotten heavier

The average weight in the United States has risen, as have the percentages of adults who are overweight or obese. Those working in the healthcare sector might therefore need to provide hands-on support for people who are quite heavy.

Medical professionals may not feel like they have time to wait for help or to obtain necessary lifting equipment. Particularly if someone falls or requires assistance getting out of bed or off a toilet, healthcare professionals are at risk of overexertion injuries when providing patient care. Overexertion and bodily reaction account for roughly half of all reported incidents where medical workers must take time away from their job responsibilities.

Patient care comes with several other risks

Many of the other top causes of hospital worker injuries also directly relate to patient care. Slips, trips and falls often occur as people rush to respond to call lights or patient emergencies. Accidental contact with objects may occur when administering medication or support to patients. In some cases, interacting with the patient might lead to volatile and violent behavior. Violence is responsible for almost one in 10 reported worker injuries in hospital settings.

Although patient care can be very rewarding, it is also quite dangerous. Hospital employees may require workers’ compensation benefits if they end up hurt while meeting the needs of patients. Recognizing the risks inherent in a specific profession can help workers to more effectively protect themselves from and/or respond to an injury at work.