Being a home care worker can be physically and emotionally demanding. Compared to other industries, occupational injury risk is high, and the hazards are unique.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that personal care and home health aides are 62% more likely to suffer overexertion injuries than the typical worker. That’s why workers’ compensation for your business is so critical.
While physical injuries may be common in the home care industry, caregivers’ mental health can be affected as well.
Workplace Injuries and Mental Health
When someone gets hurt on the job, workers’ compensation coverage is often adept at delivering timely coverage. However, in today’s world, a comprehensive approach to your employees’ health is crucial.
A study by the Institute for Work and Health showed that of workers who missed at least five days of work due to work-related musculoskeletal injuries, half frequently felt symptoms of depression in the year following their injuries.
There are many reasons employees may experience depression after an injury, including:
- Social isolation
- Challenges performing everyday tasks
- Anxiety over losing future earning potential
- Financial stress
- Chronic pain and more
The COVID-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated mental health trauma in the home health care industry.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revealed that essential workers reported suffering “disproportionately worse” states of mental health as well as higher substance misuse and increased thoughts of suicide since the pandemic began.
While you may consider an employees’ physical needs a priority in a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to address the mental and emotional components, too.
Supporting Your Caregivers’ Mental Health
As a business owner, you can provide personal support to your staff in very simple ways:
- Add some personal touch to professional relationships. Though work is always busy, it is important to keep up with your employees. Demonstrate you care by communicating beyond the necessities of work tasks. Ask your employees how their family members are doing, things they’re looking forward to, interests outside of work and more. Showing interest in your employees’ personal lives can remind them how much you value them as a person and employee.
- Eliminate work-related frustrations. Your employees have dealt with a lot the past two years. Do what you can to provide training, good equipment and a strong commitment to support their efforts as they support your business. While all work-related frustrations cannot be eliminated, if you can help with any, do so.
- Don’t ignore mental health. Talk about employee stressors and their impact. Encourage self-care, therapy, healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Offer an employee assistance program and make sure employees know it’s available.
- Implement a strong return-to-work program. Bringing employees back to work reassures them of their future employment and makes them feel productive.
Be sure to manage the expectations of supervisors and coworkers so the injured employees don’t feel guilty that they can’t work at full capacity.
Supporting your employees physical and mental health after and injury can make all the difference in their recovery.
For more information on workers’ compensation coverage for your home care business, contact Lockton Home Care.