How to Maintain Aged Care Workplace Safety

maintain aged care workplace safety

The sheer medical advancement in the past two hundred years has dramatically increased people’s life expectancy worldwide. People are generally living longer lives and reaching old age. However, However, strength and vitality normally degrade through age and will generally result in the elderly needing assistance in their daily living. Thus, aged care was developed and now is part of societal norms and systematics.

What is Aged Care

Aged care is the support and care given to elderly people in both the aged care home or in the patient’s own house. Included in aged care is assisting to help the elderly do their daily tasks, provide their needs, and equipment to live a relatively normal, functioning life. An aged care provider must be fully equipped both mentally and physically to be the support an elderly need. 

What is a workplace hazard?

aged care workplace

A hazard is usually defined as something that is the cause of adverse effects. It is an object that causes harm to a person or a group of people. There are many kinds of hazards inside the house and each of these hazards can be removed so that it will prevent accidents and harm to patients. 

Types of hazards in a workplace?

Biological hazards – There are hazards that contain bacteria, viruses or any microorganisms that will cause infection and disease. Examples of biological hazards are sewage, bodily fluids, moulds, fungi and the likes. 

Chemical hazards – These are hazards that are mainly chemicals that can harm a person or a group of people. These chemicals can harm the body and will cause disease and possible death to a person. 

Physical hazards – These are hazards are things that make the workplace environment unsafe for people. This may include structural problems in the building, problems in pathway designs and such. 

Psychosocial hazards  – These are hazards that affect the mental stability of people and patients in the workplace. This includes toxic social interactions, abusive interpersonal communications like bullying and discrimination. . 

Hazard induced accidents in Aged Care Workplaces

accidents in aged care workplaces

Many hazards might be severely dangerous to the elderly. An aged care workplace must ensure to remove these hazards or have the necessary means to respond to situations caused by accidents and unforeseen events. Here is a list of possible hazards or dangers in an aged care workplace. 

Slip and trip accidents

According to a study conducted by Safe Work Australia, 56% of all slip and trip accidents are caused by preventable environmental factors. The environmental factors range from misplaced furniture, poor lighting, poor walkway design and floor contaminants especially in the kitchen, laundry area and bathroom. 

How to prevent slip and trip accidents?
  • Maintain cleanliness and orderliness inside an aged care workplace.
  • Place easy to ready and quick to notice warning signage.
  • Repair or fix walkway issues like loose tiles, buckled carpeting and other issues that might cause accidents.
  • Replace bulbs, ensure all areas of the aged care workplace have adequate lighting. 
  • Avoid placing long cords, electric cables and other objects that may cause trips on pathways.

Lifting and moving injuries

The elderly who need moving assistance may encounter lifting and moving injuries that may affect their health. Lifting accidents may occur in areas such as stairs, ramps, and beds. While moving, injuries may occur on indoor and outdoor pathways. There are many ways to prevent this type of injury, but the most important of all is maintaining an adequate number of trained staff available to take care of the patient-client. Aside from this, it is best to have lifting and moving equipment to help the staff in moving the patient, like wheelchairs, bed lifts or Hoyer lifts and such. By using specialised lifting and moving equipment, these types of injuries can be prevented. 

Infections and contamination

The risk of infections and contamination inside a nursing home is relatively high. In the home, there are many ways infection can cause serious harm not only to the client-patient but to the staff and personnel as well. Contaminants are regularly found on objects that are used directly with the patient. It includes bandages, catheters, syringes, and clothes, and other objects that may be smeared or contaminated with both bodily fluids and chemicals. It is best to continually conduct routine cleaning in the home to ensure that everything is clean and free from possible contamination and will prevent the spread of infection and disease.

Lack of security

One of the main reasons for aged care workplace lapses is the lack of security coverage on patients. Constant monitoring is needed to adequately help and take care of the elderly living in an aged care home. There are cases where the installation of security cameras is needed to maintain daily monitoring. With the help of security cameras, aged care providers can easily see the patient and make it easier to respond to accidents and other medical emergencies that may happen without warning. 

How to maintain a safe aged care workplace?

maintain a safe aged care workplace

Establish control measures

It is necessary to have control measures set in place to resolve hazard issues in the workplace. The person who is primarily burdened with this obligation is the head of the aged care workplace. This person should take all the necessary actions to set in place control measures in and around the aged care workplace.

Remove or isolate the hazard 

After establishing control measures, the next thing to do is to isolate or remove all known hazards in the workplace. These hazards must be either removed entirely or isolated to lessen their risk of affecting the staff and patients in the home. 

Provide safety equipment

The safety of the staff is as important as the safety and well-being of the patients. The staff must be fully equipped and trained to handle patient needs and are protected from possible contamination and infection from biological and chemical hazards.

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Safety in one of the most important factors that will determine the effectiveness of an aged care workplace. Though physical health issues are primarily resolved through medication, a healthy environment will help in the development of a good disposition in life, especially in the later years of one’s life. 

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