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Risks and Hazards

Discuss about the Occupational Health Management for Metropolitan.

Metropolitan Hospice is an advanced healthcare facility in Melbourne. The facility was established in 1990 to provide palliative care to the patients with life-threatening illnesses. Since its establishment, the facility has been a leading hospice in the city (Senthil et al., 2015). It has been credited for providing high quality services which satisfy the clients. Its proximity means that it serves a population of over 500,000 people both from within and out of Melbourne (Rim, & Lim, 2014). As an established facility, Metropolitan Hospice has been offering job opportunities to a wide range of people (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). Currently, the hospice has a total workforce of 200 employees. Out of this number, there are 160 full-time and 20 part-time workers. These include Registered Nurses (RNs), physicians, surgeons, palliative care nurses, palliative doctors, pharmacists, therapists, counselors, spiritual advisors, bereavement counselors, and support staff (Shea et al., 2016). Each of these employees has been of great help to the facility. This is what the management of the facility requires because it is interested in providing satisfactory services. The purpose of this paper is to analyze occupational health management for mental stress for the hospice.

The management of Metropolitan Hospice has been concerned about occupational health and safety in the workplace (Healy et al., 2016). Because of this, it has been taking the necessary steps to create a safe environment for its staff, patients, and the public which rely on its services. However, there are still some cases of hazards in the hospice (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). One of the major health hazards in the organization is mental stress. This refers to a fatigue and burn out which is experienced by the employees who are attached to the organization. A large number of employees have been complaining of mental stress because of the kind of working environment in which they operate (Shea et al., 2016). The management has not done much to provide the employees with a safe environment which can enable them to lead a safe and comfortable life.

The problem of mental stress has been affecting all the employees who are serving the patients who are suffering from life threatening illnesses (Singh et al., 2016). There are many reasons why the employees have been experiencing mental stress in the hospice. First, the workers have been raising complaints because they are facing stress in handling the patients with advanced illnesses. The palliative care providers work in a more challenging environment than the ordinary healthcare providers (Xiang et al., 2015). This exposes them to lots of stress because they have to handle difficult patients who are facing serious physical and emotional difficulties. This kind of environment exposes the workers to lots of mental stress. It is quite stressful to handle patients who are battling life-threatening illnesses because some of them do not comply with medications prescribed by the healthcare providers (Senthil et al., 2015).

Current Management Plan for the Mental Stress Hazard

The palliative care providers also experience stress because they are sometimes dealing with the dead people. As a matter of fact, there is a high rate of deaths in the palliative care facilities than the ordinary hospitals. Dealing with the cases of dying patients cause serious stress to the healthcare providers (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). Many patients can feel stressed when they imagine that some of their patients have died. This kind of emotional distress which is faced by the family members also extend to the palliative care providers because they have to deal with the effects of death (Singh et al., 2016). This kind of situation traumatizes the palliative care providers and makes it challenging to operate as expected. It is for this reason that the palliative care providers have been complaining of challenging working environments (Healy et al., 2016). The employer has however done nothing about is because death is a normal occurrence that must be faced in the palliative care facility.

Neuhaus et al. (2014) notes that the palliative care providers have also been experiencing mental stress because of the kind of workload that they are given. Over the years, the hospice has been accused for overworking its staff. Several complaints have been lodged by the workers who say that they work for longer hours (Singh et al., 2016). The employees are overworked because the organization does not have enough employees. There are inadequate full-time employees who are forced to work for longer hours because there is so much work to be done (Shea et al., 2016). This is a bad situation because it causes stress, fatigue, and burn out which makes employees to feel stressed. It is not good for the employees to be stressed because it can demoralize them (Knibbs, 2014). At the same time, stress can make the workers to be unproductive because they have a feeling that the management does not appreciate or care about them 

The management of Metropolitan Hospice is aware that its palliative care staff is facing a myriad of challenges (Neuhaus et al., 2014). The management has been engaging in some strategies to address the challenge of mental stress because it affects it in many ways. First, mental stress is bad for the employees because it makes them to feel fatigued and demoralized (Singh et al., 2016). No employee wishes to operate in a stressful environment because it can hinder them from delivering their best services. Secondly, mental stress has been affecting the quality of services provided by the hospice (Paul, &Pearse, 2016). A survey so far conducted revealed that the stressed employees are not productive because they feel de-motivated to serve in the organization. Lastly, stress has been affecting the prosperity of the organization because low quality services injures its image and makes it difficult to accomplish its short and long-term goals (Healy et al., 2016).

Proposed Management Plan for the Mental Stress Hazard

Currently, the management of Metropolitan Hospice has been engaged in hazard plans to address the challenge of mental stress within its premises (Knibbs, 2014). The first strategy that has been applied in handling the situation is the delivery of counseling services to the affected employees. The organization has put in place a team of professional therapists whose work is to counsel the employees who might be undergoing stress and fatigue because of the kind of activities that they undertake in the workplace (Paul, &Pearse, 2016). This strategy has been helpful because it has been enabling the management to identify serious cases and address them because they escalate into a crisis. Through such counseling sessions, the management has managed to reduce the cases of mental stress within its premises.

Besides, the management has been engaging in a restricting program. This has been accomplished by employing adequate staff which can be relied upon to propel the organization to the next level (Senthil et al., 2015). Since it has been established that one of the major causes of mental distress is poor working environment, the management has been employing additional personnel to continue serving it (Singh et al., 2016). This is a commendable step because the recruitment of enough workers has made it easier for the employees to have reasonably fair workloads which they can sustain and manage without much stress (Paul, &Pearse, 2016). The end result for this strategy is that there has been a reduction on the number of stressed employees within the organization (Bamford, 2015). This is a clear proof that the strategy has been of great contribution in addressing the cases of mental stress amongst the employees.

The cases of mental stress are still rampant in the organization (Healy et al., 2016). Meaning, all the measures that have been taken to manage the hazard have not been so effective (Singh et al., 2016). Otherwise, the rates of mental stress would have been eliminated from causing further hindrance in the delivery of services by the palliative care providers (Paul, &Pearse, 2016). It therefore implies that the management should take appropriate measures to ultimately address the challenge. The management should change lots of strategies that will enhance its effort towards the elimination of the hazard.

In its plan, the management should consider improving the quality of counseling services provided to the employees (Senthil et al., 2015). Although the management has been engaging in a series of counseling services for its personnel, it has not done much to address the needs of all the patients (Singh et al., 2016). The best strategy to adopt to address the hazard is to provide effective counseling services to the workers. All the employees should be taught that palliative care service-delivery is a very challenging endeavor (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). Therefore, they should not be stressed, but be ready to sacrifice and handle all sorts of clients no matter how challenging it might be. This goal can be achieved by setting up a department to deal with the affairs of the employees (Knibbs, 2014). The department should be made up of professionals who have deep knowledge on employee welfare and be equipped with counseling skills to use in supporting the employees who might be experiencing mental stress in the workplace (Singh et al., 2016).

The other strategy that should be applied by the management is to address the cases of heavy workloads taken by the workers (Healy et al., 2016). For a very long time, employees have been complaining of overwork. It has made them to be stressed and fatigued (Bamford, 2015). Therefore, to deal with the situation, the management should consider hiring enough employees to deliver services to the patients. The number of full time employees should be increased so as to enable the organization to have workers who are not overworked at any given time (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). If there is any inefficiency, the management should consider hiring part-time staff that should only be used to fill the missing gaps and supplement the services provided by the full-time personnel. This will be an effective strategy in getting rid of stress and mental depression that might be experienced by the employees.    

The benefits of adopting these strategies are that there will be no more cases of mental stress in the workplace (Portell et al., 2014). Palliative care is a very sensitive area that should be manned by motivated personnel. All the employees should be adequately supported to ensure that they are not stressed at all.

To monitor the progress of these strategies, the management should consider engaging in regular evaluations (Reinhold, Järvis, & Tint, 2015). The assessment process should be done by using surveys. Here, the management should interview the employees to determine if there is any progress in addressing the persistent challenge of mental stress within the workplace (French, 2016). The responses provided by the employees will be used to determine if the new management strategies are effective in the reduction of the hazard of mental stress in the workplace (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). Therefore, for effective evaluation of the plan, the surveys should be periodically conducted by involving all the employees whose views should be considered (Samantra, Datta, &Mahapatra, 2016). The surveys are important because they can be relied upon to generate reliable and valid data that can be relied upon to ascertain the extent to which the new hazard management plans are applicable and beneficial to the organization.

When a proper evaluation is conducted, it will be much easier for the organization to identify its progress in the management of the hazard of mental stress among its employees (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia, & Winder, 2014). Any improvements in the management should be noted because they can help in carrying out an objective evaluation which is needed by the management (Bamford, 2015). The surveys should be conducted at different times so as to enable the management to come up with appropriate strategies which can be applied in the ultimate eradication of the problem of mental stress in the workers who are concerned about the provision of palliative care services to the patients. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Metropolitan Hospice is one of the leading palliative care providing facilities in the country. Despite making tremendous steps in the delivery of healthcare services, the facility still face a wide range of challenges in its day-to-day endeavors. One of the most serious hazards faced in the organization is mental stress. A large number of the hospice’s staff has been complaining of mental stress which has been linked to poor working conditions . However, the hazard can be ultimately addressed if the management of the hospice comes up with appropriate measures to create a stress-free working environment for all the workers. 

References

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Chan-Mok, J. O., Caponecchia, C., & Winder, C. (2014). The concept of workplace bullying: Implications from Australian workplace health and safety law.Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 21(3), 442-456.

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Knibbs, L. D. (2014). Occupational hazards to the health of professional gardeners.International journal of environmental health research, 24(6), 580-589.

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Reinhold, K., Järvis, M., & Tint, P. (2015). Practical tool and procedure for workplace risk assessment: Evidence from SMEs in Estonia. Safety science, 71, 282-291.

Rim, K. T., & Lim, C. H. (2014). Biologically hazardous agents at work and efforts to protect workers' health: a review of recent reports. Safety and health at work, 5(2), 43-52.

Xiang, J., Hansen, A., Pisaniello, D., & Bi, P. (2015). Perceptions of workplace heat exposure and controls among occupational hygienists and relevant specialists in Australia. PloS

one, 10(8), e0135040.

Samantra, C., Datta, S., &Mahapatra, S. S. (2016). Analysis of occupational health hazards and associated risks in fuzzy environment: a case research in an Indian underground coal mine. International journal of injury control and safety promotion, 1-17.

Senthil, A., Anandh, B., Jayachandran, P., Thangavel, G., Josephin, D., Yamini, R., & Kalpana, B. (2015). Perception and prevalence of work-related health hazards among health care workers in public health facilities in southern India. International journal of occupational and environmental health, 21(1), 74-81.

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International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 5(11), 2312-2315

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