Perception of Risk by Administrators and Home Health Aides


Mary Agnes Kendra The University of Akron, College of Nursing, 209 Carroll Street, Akron, OH 44325-3701. E-mail:


Increasing numbers of persons over 65, decreased length of hospital stay, and need for chronic (custodial) health care have placed a strain on home health care agencies. The second largest group of persons providing care is home health aides (HHAs), who perform in-home, nonskilled, technical procedures with little or no on-site supervision. They are generally high school graduates or hold GEDs. The purpose of this study was to compare home health care administrators' (HHCAs) and HHAs' perceptions of risk involved in home visiting. Given HHAs' educational preparation and limited supervision, they are basically on their own for work performed. Although agencies provide orientation sessions for new workers, periodic in-services often relate to tasks and competency testing and little attention directed toward protecting the self—specifically, strategies to decrease personal risk. In order to determine to what extent HHCAs and HHAs perceive risk, the Home Health Care Perception of Risk Questionnaire, a self-report measure, was administered to a national random sample of 93 HHCAs and 227 HHAs. Findings suggest that these groups differ in perception of risk and level of agency support in making home visits. Suggestions for meeting the needs of this HHA provider group are offered.