Imagine waking up each morning, dreading your job. Imagine waking up and wondering if today you’re going to be verbally abused. Imagine waking up and thinking about all the horrible things your employer, your boss, said to you the previous day, the past week, this last month, or throughout the entire year.
In most cases this is a job you would not want to keep for very long. In fact, after that first verbal abuse, you may have started looking at something else, but keep hanging in there because nothing better has come along. Or, perhaps, you have such dedication and passion for the job you don’t want to give up just yet.
This is what it’s like for some home care providers each and every day. It’s not their employer at a home care agency who is verbally aggressive, but far too often clients who are grappling with extreme challenges, stress from health issues, and intense fear and anxiety who often lash out at the people around them.
Too often, the people surrounding them are the very people hired to help. Verbal abuse is one issue that does not get enough attention but that is often affecting home care providers on a daily basis.
According to the Reuters news blog, Home health care aides often face verbal abuse from clients, written by Manas Mishra:
“Verbal abuse can hurt these aides’ long-term health and lead to higher turnover rates, said senior study author Margaret Quinn, who is director of an industry outreach initiative called Safe Home Care Project at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.
“There already are not enough home care aides to take care of the aging population,” Quinn told Reuters Health on the phone. “This problem is going to increase rapidly.”
Quinn’s team recruited 954 home healthcare aides and had them fill out questionnaires about themselves and their experiences at work.”
The impact verbal abuse has on home care aides is still being studied, but it causes stress and anxiety. There’s plenty of research out there highlighting the impact that prolonged stress and anxiety can have on a person’s emotional well-being as well as their physical health.
While there may be limited options available to curtail verbal abuse being thrown out by elderly or disabled clients, there can be expectations agreed upon by those clients before they begin receiving support. It’s also essential that home care aides are listened to and supported so that verbal abuse can be curtailed and addressed before it leads to burnout and another valuable aide leaving the home care industry.
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