Thursday, March 12, 2015

MED BIZ | Why Are Psych Aides Hurt More than Technicians?

Better educated psychiatric staff suffer
fewer injuries from patients.
A new article by Jacqueline Longton of the BLS in its Monthly Labor Review reports that psychiatric aides and technicians have much higher-than-average rates of nonfatal occupational injury from patient violence.

They also have higher-than-average overall 2011 occupational injury and illness rate.

Psychiatric technicians suffered a rate 38 times higher than the national rate of workplace violence and their overall national rate of injury and illness was four times the national average.

Psychiatric aides suffered a violence-related injury rate 69 times higher than the national rate and their overall national rate of injury and illness was seven time the national rate.
This information is from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). Employers are required to maintain records of their workplace injuries and illnesses according to record-keeping requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The threshold for inclusion in the database is taking one or more days off from work, whether in privately owned or state and local government facilities. Few violent incidents are fatal - in 2003-1011, these occupations combined had four violent fatalities.

So here are some quick answers based in part on the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook:
  • Psychiatric technicians provide therapeutic care. They have more training. They obtain a certificate or degree typically from a community college or technical school that offers courses in psychiatric or mental health technology, often including supervised work experience or cooperative programs for academic credit–psychiatric technicians have at least one semester and may have two years of course work leading to either a certificate or associate degree. They may be better prepared for the mental and emotional strains associated with patient contact than psychiatric aides.
  • Psychiatric aides help patients in their daily activities and ensure a safe, clean environment. Psychiatric aides need a high school diploma or equivalent only. They are not required to have any specific certification or psychiatric course work. They have more direct patient contact, and this may be the simplest explanation of all.
It may be useful for patients as well to know the difference between the two kinds of jobs and who is likely to be providing the care.