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, 25 (3), 1276-1286

Occupational Hazards for Home Care Nurses Across the Rural-To-Urban Gradient in Ontario, Canada

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Occupational Hazards for Home Care Nurses Across the Rural-To-Urban Gradient in Ontario, Canada

Matthew Wong et al. Health Soc Care Community.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to describe occupational hazards for nurses working in home care (HC) and explore how they differ across the rural-to-urban gradient. Responses (n = 823) from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2012 of HC nurses registered to practise nursing in the Province of Ontario, Canada were used. Using chi-square analysis and posthoc pairwise tests with a Bonferroni correction, 14 occupational hazards were individually tested for differences between four geographical settings (rural, town, suburban or urban areas). Our study reports that in addition to common occupational hazards that all HC nurses experience, the frequency of experiencing some hazards varies based on geographic setting. These specific hazards include exposure to: aggressive pets, environmental tobacco smoke, oxygen equipment, unsafe neighbourhoods and pests. Findings from this study suggest that a relationship exists between where a patient's home is located and the types of occupational hazards that may be experienced by HC staff. This research is useful for HC organisations in developing staff training programmes to recognise and manage occupational hazards that workers are likely to encounter. Home healthcare and policy leaders may use these findings to develop and implement educational and other strategies to reduce risk and manage exposures across the rural-to-urban gradient.

Keywords: home care; nurses; occupational hazards; safety.

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