Risk of sharps injuries among home care aides: Results of the Safe Home Care survey

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Home care (HC) aides constitute an essential, rapidly growing workforce. Technology advances are enabling complex medical care at home, including procedures requiring the percutaneous use of sharp medical devices, also known as sharps. Objectives were to quantify risks of sharps injuries (SI) in a large HC aide population, compare risks between major occupational groups, and evaluate SI risk factors.


A questionnaire survey was administered to aides hired by HC agencies and directly by clients. One thousand one hundred seventy-eight aides completed questions about SI and potential risk factors occurring in the 12 months before the survey. SI rates were calculated and Poisson regression models identified risk factors.


Aides had a 2% annual risk of experiencing at least 1 SI (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.6). Client-hired aides, men, and immigrants had a higher risk than their counterparts. Risk factors among all HC aides included helping a client use a sharp device (rate ratio [RR], 5.62; 95% CI, 2.75-11.50), observing used sharps lying around the home (RR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.27-5.67), and caring for physically aggressive clients (RR, 2.82; 95% CI, 1.36-5.85).


HC aides experience serious risks of SI. Preventive interventions are needed, including safety training for clients and their families, as well as aides.

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