149652 Partnership for Safety: A participatory research project with homecare workers and consumers

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 4:35 PM

Laura Stock, MPH , Labor Occupational Health Program, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Sherry L. Baron, MD MPH , Surveillance Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Fang Gong , Department of Sociology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Muncie, IN
Dan Habes, MSE, CPE , Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Linda Ayala, MPH , Public Authority of IHSS of Alameda County, Oakland, CA
Diego Castaneda, MPH , School of Public Health, DrPH Program, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Health and Safety research with homecare workers (HCWs) faces particular challenges due to the multicultural, multilingual, and low-status nature of this population. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Labor Occupational Health Program of UC Berkeley have initiated a five-year project aimed at developing interventions to improve health and safety among Alameda County's 10,000 HCWs. This study seeks to empower HCWs to work collaboratively with consumers (recipients of care) to use safety checklists to address health and safety risks. A participatory research model is being used to ensure that project goals and deliverables are developed in partnership with workers and their union, the Public Authority for In-Home Supportive Services (the employer of record), and its consumer advisory board. Nine focus groups were conducted with HCWs and consumers in English, Spanish and Cantonese to provide input into development of the checklists and identify barriers to their use. Tools and techniques drawn from popular education were used in the focus group design to make it more participatory, including “associative imagery,” “risk mapping” and “word bubble” activities which helped identify communication barriers between HCWs and consumers. These popular education based activities were effective in generating participation and eliciting deeper and richer responses than may have been possible using traditional approaches. The methodology and results obtained from the focus groups will be discussed. We will also describe efforts to develop a community-based approach, including the development of a representative stakeholder committee, to address HCW and consumer health and safety.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the process of ensuring homecare workers/consumers involvement in defining research goals and deliverables. 2. Describe the research challenges posed by a multilingual, multicultural, low wage/status population. 3. Discuss the participatory techniques and tools used in project focus groups and present results.

Keywords: Home Care, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.