Medical workers are dedicated to providing care for those who need it. Those who care for the oldest and most vulnerable patients often do so because they have a passion for helping others. It’s kind of ironic, then, that medical workers are at higher risk than the general public for needing care because of their work. You may not think of the medical field as a high risk industry, but in reality the workers in this field face daily risks to their health and well-being.

Thankfully, worker’s compensation benefits are available to the vast majority of dedicated people who work in the medical field. Nursing home workers, as well as those who visit the elderly still in their homes, perform difficult labor on behalf of those who can not fully care for themselves. If they wind up injured in the course of their duties, they can receive benefits that include medical coverage and temporary disability income while they recover.

The risk of injury is more than seven times higher for nursing home workers

According to an analysis of data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in nursing homes are more than seven times as likely to develop a musculoskeletal disorder than all workers in general. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration analyzed data from 2010 and found that nurse’s aides and those in similar positions developed work related musculoskeletal disorders at a rate of 249 per 10,000 workers. For all workers in 2010, that rate was just 34 out of 10,000 workers.

In other words, the heavy lifting and difficult tasks involved in providing care for the elderly in nursing facilities or in their own homes puts these compassionate caregivers in harm’s way. Serious overexertion injuries, herniated discs and other joint injuries all require medical care, rest and usually physical therapy for full recovery. In some cases, the injuries may preclude a worker from ever returning to providing this kind of care.

Care-related injuries are not the only risk to nursing home workers

Injuries related to lifting, moving or supporting a patient are only the beginning of the potential risk factors for nursing home staff and home health aides. Patients with dementia or declining cognitive abilities can become combative and physically attack those trying to help them. There’s also the constant risk of pathogens from bodily fluids. While it’s possible to minimize these risks, there’s no way to completely eliminate them.

These kinds of injuries should always get reported to management when they happen, even if they occur in a patient’s home. Creating a trail of documentation for any kind of work injury is critical when it comes time to filing a claim, including claims related to nursing home care injuries.