Many people face some sort of abuse regularly. This might be from a friend, spouse, other family member, or even a coworker or employer. Just because it happens too often doesn’t mean it should ever be acceptable. Some individuals face abuse as part of their job. These men and women are commonly referred to as home care aides.
Not all elderly or disabled clients will hurl insults at their caregivers, but some, especially those who have been diagnosed with dementia, may have a tendency to do this very thing, often without realizing it or understanding the impact their words have.
A recent study conducted by the Safe Home Care Project, out of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, found that home care aides are constantly subjected to verbal abuse. The study found that approximately one out of every four home care aides are on the receiving end of verbal abuse as a regular part of their job.
It was noted in the blog published by MedicineNet.com, Nearly 1 in 4 Home Care Aides Faces Verbal Abuse, written by Serena Gordon for HealthDay:
““There is increasing scientific evidence that verbal abuse, as well as physical abuse, can have harmful, long-term impacts on employees’ health, such as depression and burnout, and on the stability of the workforce, such as high turnover, which is costly for employers and hard on those receiving care when an aide they’ve developed a relationship with does not return,” she [Margaret Quinn, Director of the Safe Home Care Project at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell] said.
Despite this study’s findings, Quinn said most home care aides report a high level of job satisfaction and get great reward from helping people age in place in their homes with dignity.”
The focus of a study like this should be about providing adequate support resources for those home care aides who are subjected to this kind of abuse. Too often, though, the wounds inflicted by verbal abuse are far easier to hide from family, friends, and even employers than physical abuse, for example.
While a significant percentage of these home care aides report high job satisfaction, this study highlights just how stressful this work truly is. In order to help promote a more positive work environment and retain quality caregivers, it’s incumbent upon agencies and other employers to be aware that verbal abuse happens, is real, and just how significantly it can affect individual workers.