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Verbal abuse against home care aides: another shot across the bow in violence against health care and other workers
  1. Susan Goodwin Gerberich
  1. SchPubHealth-EnvHSci, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Susan Goodwin Gerberich, SchPubHealth-EnvHSci, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA; gerbe001{at}

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It is disconcerting that while physical assault is perceived as a major consequence of work-related violence, non-physical violence—which includes threats, sexual harassment, verbal abuse and bullying—may result in even greater burdens for the victims.1–4 In particular, verbal abuse involving another person yelling or swearing, engaging in name calling or using other words intended to control or hurt has consistently been reported as the most common form of workplace violence.1 2 4 5 This is particularly the case in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector which is at highest risk of non-fatal violence in the USA and a major problem globally.3 4

The problem of verbal abuse is especially highlighted by Karlsson et al 6 from their occupational study of home care aides7 who constitute an important proportion of healthcare workers.8 Based on questionnaire survey data collected from 954 Health Care Aides who reported on verbal abuse from non-family clients and their family members, increased risks identified for verbal abuse involved caring for patients with limited mobility and working in homes with limited space in which to perform care tasks; a decreased risk was identified when predictable work schedules were maintained by the caregiver. Aides who reported verbal abuse within the last 12 months, compared with those who …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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