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Hospice, dementia patients cause injuries to health care employees

In 2010, approximately 7 percent of health care professionals who were injured on the job were hurt by the patients they were caring for. Although the percentage released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics did not differentiate between hospice or dementia patients and other patients, The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that many hospice and dementia patients are responsible for some serious workplace injuries.

According to the president and CEO of a Colorado hospice, many people may not consider patients in hospice or nursing homes to be very dangerous, but some of the patients can become extremely combative and cause injuries to workers. Those patients who have been battling dementia for a long period of time are especially prone to posing a risk to health care workers when they become frightened or confused.

In an effort to reduce injuries to health care professionals, however, a social worker with a Colorado hospice has started to incorporate a new form of patient interaction into his work. The method relies primarily on body language and creating a sense of calm for patients based on the way hospice workers move and interact with patients. The new program has caught on and the social worker has presented on the therapeutic method to health care professionals in Denver and Colorado Springs.

While this new technique is meant to reduce workplace injuries, for those workers who have already been injured by their patients, it is important to seek help from a workers' compensation attorney. Many injured employees can take advantage of the Colorado workers' compensation program, but they may become lost in the application process. An attorney can provide clear explanations on how to successfully apply and earn money for lost wages and medical expenses.

Source: The Colorado Springs Gazette, "Martial arts used to calm combative dementia patients" Barbara Cotter, Dec. 27, 2011

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