Over 60pc of workers in elderly care facilities attacked by patients

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 7:01pm

Over 60 per cent of workers in elderly care facilities have been attacked by elderly residents during the course of their duties, according to a recent survey.

The study, which was released on Monday, surveyed over 279 caregivers working in Hong Kong elderly care facilities and was conducted by the Community Care and Nursing Home Workers General Union and the Hong Kong Workers’ Health Centre.

The survey recommended those elderly patients who are often bad tempered, suffer from mental illness or have violent tendencies should be handled by specifically trained staff to ensure the safety of the caregivers.

The study found that 65.9 per cent of caregivers suffered from physical or verbal abuse by elderly residents during their work. Among them, 13.6 per cent said they were attacked or beaten at least once a week.

The elderly in these facilities usually vented their frustration on those with whom they had the most direct contact – the caregivers, said Cheng Ching-fat, secretary of the Community Care and Nursing Home Workers General Union, at a press conference on Monday.

“They are dissatisfied with their lives, but they don’t know how to control their temper,” he said.

Most of the workers who are victims of the abuse are discouraged from reporting it to the police by their bosses.

“If the caregivers continue to work in such an undesirable environment, it will worsen the manpower situation of an already understaffed industry,” said Cheng.

He suggested the government and elderly care facilities should increase resources to better handle abusive residents and safeguard the welfare of caregivers.