82% of care aides in B.C. experienced violence or aggression at work

Alarming findings come from poll conducted by Hospital Employees Union

82% of care aides in B.C. experienced violence or aggression at work

A recent survey conducted by the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) in British Columbia has shed light on the distressing reality of violence and harassment endured by care aides, raising significant concerns about their workplace safety.

The HEU, representing over 60,000 healthcare workers in the province, undertook a phone survey between September 18 and 29, engaging with 807 care aides working diligently in various healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities.

The survey results have sent shockwaves through the healthcare sector, with a spokesperson for HEU expressing deep concern, saying, "This survey paints a chilling picture of the violence and harassment that frontline healthcare workers endure daily."

The most alarming revelation from the survey was that a staggering 82% of care aides reported experiencing violence or aggression in their workplace. These disturbing acts included being struck, scratched, spat on, or subjected to other forms of aggression by care home residents, indicating a deeply troubling trend.

Meena Brisard, a manager at HEU, says the dire situation care aides and community health workers face is reaching a tipping point. "These healthcare heroes are not only overburdened but also face the constant threat of violence and harassment while trying to deliver quality care."

Furthermore, nearly half of the respondents (45%) disclosed that they had been off work due to injuries sustained in the workplace. These injuries underscore the hazardous environment that care aides find themselves in daily.

Shockingly, 68% of care aides surveyed reported feeling that their residents, patients, or clients were rushed through basic care routines, often compromising the quality of care they could provide.

Perhaps the most disheartening statistic was that almost half (48.5%) of the respondents felt that their work experiences over the last three years had made it likely they would leave their jobs within the next two years. This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need to address the pervasive violence and harassment faced by care aides.

In response to these troubling findings, Brisard called for immediate government intervention, stating, "There is a pressing need for the provincial government to step in and address the rampant violence and harassment in healthcare settings. These frontline workers need protection and support."

The HEU has been steadfastly advocating for the restoration of standard wages, benefits, and working conditions for care aides and healthcare workers, urging the provincial government to take swift and decisive action to address these deeply troubling issues.

The results of this survey underscore the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to ensure the safety and well-being of care aides in British Columbia. The healthcare system's ability to provide quality care to vulnerable populations hinges on eliminating the pervasive violence and harassment that plagues healthcare settings.