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	doctor and patient, man helping woman in wheelchair

Inputs: Emerging Issues

There are a number of emerging issues within the HCSA sector that are noteworthy, including stress from chronic understaffing, bariatric patient handling, and long hours due to shortages in nursing and other healthcare professions. There is also an aging workforce of nurses and other HCSA workers, in the face of increasing demand.

HCSA sector workers face potential exposures to unknown hazardous agents contaminating first receivers; emerging infectious diseases such as SARS, avian influenza, and many others; and exposure to a variety of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

HCSA workers are at risk from a dramatic increase in workplace violence perpetrated by clients, their families, and even co-workers. High hazard chemical use and use of other potentially hazardous new technologies continues to grow in health care settings; awareness of these hazards and appropriate workplace protections will be required.

The role of the HCSA sector and its contribution to community emergency response is another increasingly important issue. The ability of the HCSA sector to deal with emergencies including natural disasters, epidemics of pandemic influenza or other contagious diseases, and intentional attacks on the population has important implications both for HCSA workers and the community at large.