Return to Work among Healthcare Workers Injured due to Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is a common occupational hazard and cause of work disability in the healthcare sector. In British Columbia, the yearly rate of compensated violence-related work claims among healthcare workers is 3–10 times higher compared with other industries.
Healthcare workers are known to be psychologically demanding environments, and the effects of injuries due to violence might be exacerbated in these workplaces. There is little evidence on the effect of violence on work disability duration and the likelihood to return-to-work after injury.
Knowing the high rate of violence-related work claim among healthcare workers, we studied the impact of these injuries on the time to return to work after at least one day of sickness absence. We identified the following 2 research questions:
- Are certain types of injuries more likely to be associated with violence?
- Does violence result in different return-to-work outcomes and what affects the relationship between violence and return-to-work?
- Violence-related incidents compared with non-violence-related incidents were associated with a longer time to return-to-work for workers with psychological injuries, those working in counselling or social work occupations, and those working in long-term care and residential social services.
- The evidence from this study shows that in addition to primary prevention of work-related violent incidents, intervention to reduce work disability related to violence should focus on healthcare workers with psychological injuries and on workers who are off work for more than a month after a violent incident. These workers have a higher likelihood to remain off work for more than 1 year and in some cases permanently.
Esther Maas, PhD
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