248699 Workplace violence and musculoskeletal pain: A 2-year follow-up of nursing home workers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:15 AM

Helena Miranda, MD, DrMedSc , Centre of Expertise in Health and Work Ability, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
Laura Punnett, ScD , Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Rebecca Gore, PhD , Work Environment Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: We have previously published cross-sectional findings of an exposure-response relationship between exposure to physical assaults at work and musculoskeletal pain among nursing home workers. This 2-year follow-up study provides further evidence on the effect of workplace violence on musculoskeletal pain assessed with several parallel outcomes measured at 3 time points. METHODS: Nursing home workers with complete data from the 3 consecutive annual surveys formed the study cohort (n=344). The 6 outcomes were musculoskeletal pain at any site, widespread nature of symptoms, pain intensity, pain interference with work and sleep, and co-occurring symptoms of pain and depression. The main predictor was exposure to physical assault(s) at work during the preceding 3 months. RESULTS: Every fourth nursing home worker, and every third nursing aide, reported persistent exposure to workplace violence over the 2 years. Of these workers, 80% experienced musculoskeletal pain; one-fourth had widespread pain symptoms; pain was moderate to extreme in two out of three; pain had interfered with work for 50% and had affected sleep for over 50%; and about one-third felt depressed in addition to experiencing significant pain. Baseline exposure to violence predicted pain outcomes one year later and long-term exposure was associated with a linear increase in the risks of all pain-related outcomes at the end of the 2-year follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Workplace violence, especially when long-term, is strongly associated with pain, separate from the effects of other job features. The outcomes are severe enough that they could influence nursing home staff to leave employment.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the range of musculoskeletal outcomes associated with workplace assault among nursing home workers.

Keywords: Violence, Health Care Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an occupational epidemiologist and ergonomist and Principal Investigator of the research project that generated these data. I participated in developing the analysis strategy and interpreting the results.
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.