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The United States National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which is a division of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) defines a nursing home as a facility that has more than three beds, has a license as a nursing home and whose function is to provide nursing, Medicare or Medicaid. In order to facilitate efficient care for patients, these facilities do employ a considerable number of employees; some full-time others part-time. It has however been observed that despite these efforts, the industry continues to face significant problems. According to Harbert and Ginsberg (273), some challenges include a deteriorating quality in the care itself, patients' discrimination and swelling costs of due to extensive needs of the sector. Other problems include dilapidated living conditions, fire safety, non-compliance to building code, maladministration of medications and a mild attention to the workers' welfare. Nevertheless, experts purport that the numerous issues of nursing facilities emanate from the financial implications of the facilities and the nature of the care itself.
In general terms, there are numerous aspects I would consider if I were to design programs surrounding workplace health, safety and security. Such programs should incorporate but not limited to, for instance, Case management, counseling at workplace, health education and screening, crime prevention and support systems. The HR Focus (2007 p. 7) elaborates that workplace wellness programs are those programs designed either to promote health or to prevent disease; in this context, at a nursing workplace. With reference to the nature of the care and bearing in mind that some diseases are communicable, the health of the caregivers should be at the top of the list since it is only healthy persons who can take care of others' health. In the view of the periodical, employee rewards should be included in their health programs so as to motivate them. The heah assurance cover should also be included in their salary package for the workers.
The safety of the employees should also be considered as important in any program design (Risk Management 2007 p. 6). This workplace aspect has been used in other industries as exemplified by the Worthington Industries, Inc. from 2006. Just as safety is a key concern in the metal processing industry, so should it be emphasized in the healthcare sector since unless the workers are physically safe, they can not offer services of care. In designing a security program for workers, I would also incorporate the steps put forward by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (69) in Security Issues for Today's Health Care Organization. He outlines that there should be devised an efficient crowd control method in places where there are suicide bombers, inspection of guns and weapons. To curb violence emanating from patients due to non-treatment, I would design sane policies and where possible specialized personnel to explain to unattended patients why there is was delay in their treatment. The program would also include supervisory practices which would reduce the potential for violence including proper channels for enhanced communication, effective methods of conflict resolution include policies on sexual harassment and have staff counseling sessions. The program would also include a threat policy document, worker compensation policy and income-replacement procedures.
Most guides on occupational health and safety insist that the worker should be put as the first in health safety measures. In a health and safety program, I would entrench methods of hazard assessment, hazard communication, laboratory standards, safety equipments, safety analysis of chemicals, space use, electrical safety, respiratory protection, noise reduction methods, waste management, pre-employment screening, training of personnell and mechanisms of response to emergency.
This however would not be achieved without proper strategies. The initial step would thus be establishment of the existing health and safety issues and the reasons as to why they exist. Health issues emanate from aspects of disease epidemiology, geography and etiology. On the other hand, most safety and security issues would revolve around the political climate, the location of the nursing home, and the physical hazards in the area among other things. It is also critical to scrutinize the provisions of those laws that govern workplace health and safety such as the Common Law and other United States laws such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 and Fire Safety Regulations, 1997. After this establishment, it is easy to design a program that is information-based and that would offer sustainable solutions to problems.
Designing of health and safety programs for nursing homes should also be informed by experience such as the one for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). My program would thus somehow borrow from the CMS programs especially proposal for the establishment of healthcare security administrator (Colling and York 15). This way, all security issues of workers would greatly be catered for.
The problems facing the nursing homes industry are numerous ranging from the health, safety and security of workers. Designing relevant programs would thus require a step by step investigation into the issues, their cause and possible approaches to their handling. Nursing health care involves contact with sick persons thus it is easy for diseases to be transmitted from the patient to the care giver. It is therefore paramount to prioritize the health of workers in such an environment in such a way that there are good protective measures on the part of the workers. The safety and security of workers should also be included in programs geared towards managing related challenges.