In its first large-scale nationwide survey, half of all visiting nurses polled said they had suffered from harassment of some kind when visiting patients’ homes, the National Association for Visiting Nurse Service said Thursday. According to the association, the number of nurses visiting patients at their homes has been increasing as Japan’s population rapidly ages.
Some elderly people prefer to receive nursing care in their own homes, often meaning that a single nurse will have to visit the patient alone.
The questionnaire on harassment was sent to 11,160 nurses and 5,580 administrators in February and March, and of those who were asked if they had suffered any form of harassment while at work visiting patients, half of them replied yes.
The harassment claims spanned physical, mental and sexual harassment incidents, with 53 percent of respondents saying they had been harassed mentally, 45 percent saying they had been harassed physically and 48 percent claiming their harassment had been sexual in nature.
According to the association, for all types of harassment, 30 percent of respondents said they had suffered within the past year, with some of the claims being that they had been shouted at by their patients in a derogatory manner, inappropriately touched and shown pornographic videos. In almost all cases, respondents said they reported the case of harassment to their superiors, with 70 percent of administrators who responded saying they have subsequently sent nurses in pairs to visit patients that have a high-risk of harassing nurses. Akiko Miki, a professor of Kansai Medical University in charge of the survey, said “Small operators may be unable to deal with such problems, so we need to figure out safety measures for visiting nurses extensively and systematically.”
The survey revealed that some administrators, on hearing their nurses had been harassed, had canceled their contracts. Others said they simply did not know what to do.—Agencies