Researchers: Resident violence in Canada "out of control"

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Aides in Canadian nursing homes are being assaulted by residents at "appallingly" high rates, according to university researchers. Physical attacks were made daily against nearly half of workers surveyed, their studied revealed.

"Our research shows that the level of violence in Canadian long-term care facilities is appallingly high," said Albert Banerjee, the lead study author and a doctoral candidate in sociology at York University. "Violence is a constant and ongoing part of working in Canadian long-term care facilities. This situation ... is out of control."

Investigators surveyed 415 workers at 71 nursing homes in three provinces. Lead author Pat Armstrong, a York sociology professor, said the levels of violence were about seven times as high as rates found in Nordic countries, which similarly have socialized healthcare.

Armstrong said facilities in countries such as Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, which also have socialized health programs, have more staff members and, therefore, less "stressed out" residents. While 44% of Canadian nursing home workers said they worked short-staffed every day, the rate is just 15% in the Nordic countries, she added.

A Canadian government spokesman said staffing levels have improved and resident/family complaints have dropped, since 2006, which was when the survey was performed. Canadian facilities average just less than 3.5 hours of nursing care per resident per day, according to a spokeswoman.