Colorado home health nurses have a unique set of hazards that they might not face in a traditional hospital setting. Not surprisingly, their workers’ compensation claims are different, too.
Workplace hazards unique to home health nurses
Seniors now stay in their homes much more frequently than they did in the past. Before, some seniors selected a retirement community or received care in a nursing home, but many more now want to “age in place.” Home health care providers bridge the gap between the care they might receive in a nursing home and the ability to remain independent.
Despite the appeal for patients, home health care can present extra dangers for nurses. In some cases, the home is downright unhygienic and poses a risk not just to the resident but also to the caregiver. Examples include a lack of running water, backed-up plumbing, rodent problems or bugs.
Sometimes, home health nurses file for workers’ compensation after encountering a patient’s pet. While a dog, cat or bird may be perfectly docile with the owner, it could be a risk for the incoming nurse. Moreover, an allergic reaction can be dangerous to some individuals.
Commutes, drugs and violence
Driving is inherently dangerous. When a nurse has to drive around all day to reach patients in their homes, the danger multiplies, and there are more chances to get into a crash. Moreover, in some cases, a patient or someone who lives at the home uses illegal drugs. Drug abuse puts a visitor to the home at risk, and coming in contact with paraphernalia may result in infection.
The threat of violence is very real for any person who provides in-home services. There may be domestic violence in the home the nurse enters. They may end up in the middle of the dispute and suffer an injury or death.
If you have encountered any of the above issues, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. Should you have questions about your rights, discussing them with an attorney may be a good option.