Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hospitals: Worker Safety = Patient Safety

An SEIU study links high rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in hospitals to the quality of patient care.
The greatest risks for hospital workers include strains or sprains from lifting or moving patients and needle sticks that can cause cuts and expose workers to contaminated blood. The union used federal injury logs to determine that support workers — those represented by SEIU — are injured more often than nurses or other licensed staff.

Nursing assistant Maxine Maxon said staffing on her rehabilitation unit at Fairview's Riverside hospital sometimes leaves her tending 10 patients at a time. She believes that isn't enough staff. "We move very fast and can't spend enough time caring for our patients and protecting them or our own safety," she said.