208465 Work organization exposure differences in older home care workers

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:15 AM

Kate McPhaul, PhD, MPH, RN , Work and Health Research Center, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
JiSun Choi, MSN , Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Carla L. Storr, MPH, ScD , Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Rosemary K. Sokas, MD, MOH, MSc , Office of Occupational Medicine, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC
The U.S. workforce is aging at a rate greater than younger workers are entering the workforce. This phenomenon is particularly acute in healthcare where the mean age of nurses is approaching 50. BLS data suggest that older workers are less likely to be injured but when they are injured, they experience more severe injuries with more lost work time and more fatalities than younger workers. The healthcare and social assistance sector experiences approximately 16-20% of the work-related illnesses and injuries experienced in this country, however, this sector has not been examined for differences in injury rates by age. It is not known for example, to what extent, older personal care assistants who provide care in client's homes are injured on the job. The NIOSH Work Organization Framework postulated that the way that work is organized influences the worker's exposure to psychological and physical hazards. Work organization and job stressors have been implicated in exposure to violence, needlesticks, and other occupational exposures in healthcare workers. While older home care workers have more job experience and a longer tenure with their employer, chi square analysis of the general health, job duties, physical demands, quantitative work, control over work, social support, hours of work and holding second jobs were performed demonstrating little or no difference in work organization exposures for older PCA's. Implications for healthy aging work practices and policies for this marginalized workforce will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the signs of normal aging. Discuss how home care work may accelerate normal aging Analyze policy alternatives which might increase the liklihood of healthy aging for home care workers.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Home Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: my educational background and my research experience in this field
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.