by Kristin Rowan, Editor

In October of 2023, nurse Joyce Grayson went to the home (halfway house) of a released convict. She was later found dead in the basement of the house. In addition to adding focus to home care worker safety, the immediate response to this tragic event was an increase in nurses being afraid to do their jobs. Lawmakers in Connecticut vowed to increase protection for visiting nurses to ensure health care worker safety. The nurses requested additional reporting requirements for assaults while lawmakers suggested requiring an escort for high-risk situations.

Home Care Worker Safety by Law

Connecticut Senator Saud Anwar recognizes the growing segment of people wanting to age at home. “We want people to be able to get treatment at home,” he said. However, he also recognized the need for more information about potentially dangerous homes. He said at-home health care workers should be aware of what they’re walkin into “if there’s a high-risk situation.” Conn. lawmakers introduced Senate Bill One for Session Year 2024. The bill would require agencies to provide patient information, as applicable, including:

  • Medical History
    • Psychiatric history
    • History of violence
    • History of substance abuse
    • History of domestic abuse,
    • Current infections and treatments
    • Stability of diagnoses or symptoms over time
  • Housing Information
    • Other persons in the home
    • Name and relationship to patient
    • Psychiatric history
    • History of violence or domestic violence
    • Criminal records
    • History of substance abuse
  • Location of Service
    • Crime rate
    • Presence of hazardous materials
    • Presence of firearms or other weapons
    • Status of location’s fire alarm system
    • Presence of any other safety hazards

The bill also included ongoing safety training, safety assessments, and safety checks including:

  • A mobile app with patient information
  • A GPS enabled wearable device that allows staff to contact law enforcement

The Bill included payment rates to offset the cost of implementing all safety items to ensure cost-neutrality.

Implications for Hospice Agencies

Barbara Pearce, interim CEO of Connecticut Hospice, raised some legitimate concerns over the bill. Pearce warns that the background screenings required are lengthy and would result in many patients not receiving hospice care at all. According to Pearce, Connecticut Hospice “had 300 people die within three days, 200 people within two days, and 100 people within one day of entering home hospice care.” None of these patients would have been cared for if the bill had been in place at the time. Pearce discussed her concerns with Conn. lawmakers, who have since changed their approach.

Senate Bill One “Home Care Worker Safety” Moving Forward

Connecticut lawmakers are opting to exclude hospices from the bill for now. Sen Anwar said they plan to write a hospice-tailored bill “in the future” to ensure safety of hospice workers. Anwar continued, “We will have a plan of action to see what can be done to reduce the risk for hospice care workers too because…we want to make sure they’re safe too.”

The Connecticut 2024 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on May 8. Senate and House representatives are racing the clock to modify the bill before the session ends.

Implications for Home Health

Few, if any, states have laws for home health worker safety. Alaska and Idaho have strict penalties for violence against health care workers. Wyoming introduced a similar bill in 2013, but it was defeated. Oregon passed a law in 2007 to require hospitals and surgery centers to implement safety strategies. Washington state established a law in 1999 that requires the development and implementation of a work-place violence plan. The law includes home health, hospice, and home care agencies, but does not have the detailed measures included in Connecticut’s bill.

If Senate Bill One passes in Connecticut, it could pave the way for additional state or federal regulations for in-home care safety precautions. Violence in home health, hospice, and home care has increased and steps need to be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of caregivers. Keep an eye out for some upcoming product reviews on mobile apps and hand-held emergency devices that allow home care workers to alert the agency, law enforcement, and/or family members before, during, and after a care visit.

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Kristin Rowan

Kristin Rowan has been working at Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Report since 2008. She has a master’s degree in business administration and marketing and runs Girard Marketing Group, a multi-faceted boutique marketing firm specializing in event planning, sales, and marketing strategy. She has recently taken on the role of Editor of The Rowan Report and will add her voice to current Home Care topics as well as marketing tips for home care agencies. Connect with Kristin directly or

©2024 by The Rowan Report, Peoria, AZ. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Report. One copy may be printed for personal use: further reproduction by permission only.