Around half of respondents in a survey of visiting nurses said they have suffered some form of harassment when going to patients’ homes, an industry survey showed Thursday.
The number of nurses visiting patients outside of medical institutions has been on the rise amid the growing number of elderly people who prefer to receive nursing services at home. But the nurses often have to go to the patients’ homes alone.
Asked whether they had experienced forms of physical, mental or sexual harassment, half of the respondents for each category said yes, according to the survey by the National Association for Visiting Nurse Service.
The association sent questionnaires to 11,160 nurses and 5,580 administrators in February and March in its first large-scale nationwide survey. About 30 percent of nurses and nearly 40 percent of the administrators responded.
According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents said they were verbally harassed, while 45 percent said they have been subjected to violence and 48 percent cited sexual harassment.
For every type of harassment, about 30 percent replied that they had suffered abuse within the past year.
Among the forms of harassment, many respondents said they were yelled at, told that they were incompetent, or were threatened.
Of those who cited sexual harassment, some of them said they were touched or shown adult videos.
The study also said that 97 percent of responding nurses reported the problems to their superiors.
Among measures to protect the nurses, around 70 percent of the administrators who responded said they have sent nurses in pairs or more in cases where they are at a high risk of being subjected to violence.
Some administrators have canceled their contracts after finding out that their employees had been harassed, while others said they are not sure what to do.
“Small operators may be unable to deal with such problems, so we need to figure out safety measures for visiting nurses extensively and systematically,” said Akiko Miki, a professor of Kansai Medical University in charge of the survey.