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Public Health Nurs. 2000 Jan-Feb;17(1):43-52.

Personal safety, violence, and home health.

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  • 1The University of Kansas, School of Nursing, Kansas City 66160-7502, USA.


A critical issue facing the health care industry today is the potential impact of community and interpersonal violence on home health care. The purposes of this study were to (1) serve as a source for understanding the personal safety risk issues facing home care staff in a large Midwest region and its surrounding rural areas; (2) provide an understanding of how perceived threats to personal safety may impact patient care and patient outcomes; (3) identify strategies for increasing the personal safety of direct care staff; and (4) identify organizational, educational, and procedural issues that impede or enhance staff safety. A triangulated qualitative design was used including focus groups, in-depth individual interviews, critical event narratives, and a participant self-report form. The study used a purposive sample consisting of 5 men and 56 women who were either administrators or direct care staff from 13 home health agencies. Seven major themes emerged: (1) unsafe conditions that direct care staff must face; (2) organizational and administrative issues that impede or promote the personal safety of staff; (3) ethical issues staff face daily; (4) protective factors associated with maintaining safety; (5) issues of gender, race, age, and experience; (6) education and training; and (7) the potential impact that staff's fear of interpersonal and community violence can have on patient care and patient outcomes.

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