Online Program

Assessing health risks for older workers

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hongtu Chen, PhD, Environment & Health Group, Cambridge, MA
Xin Lu, MS, Environment & Health Group, Cambridge, MA
Ning An, PhD, Gerontechnology Lab, School of Computer and Information, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China
Sue Levkoff, Sc.D., S.M., M.S.W, SeniorSMART™ South Carolina Center of Economic Excellence, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Background: Preventive care for older workers is cost-beneficial because improving health not only maintains productivity of skilled workers at the age from 55 to 64, but also helps reduce healthcare costs, especially for those with lifestyle risks such as unhealthy eating. Health risk assessment (HRA) has been used to identify high-risk profile followed by behavioral change support to reduce or eliminate modifiable risk factors. The purpose of this study is to develop an HRA appropriate for older workers.

Methods: Based on workplace health and older adults health literature, a new risk model was established to incorporate the psycho-social domains—i.e., psychological stress related to work-place problems, work-life demands, and unexpected life-events, in addition to the biomedical and behavioral risks included in existing HRAs. Focus groups and individual interviews with over 30 older workers were convened to assess consumer responses to the instrument. A digital version was tested among 24 older employees at a large hospital for usability.

Findings: Focus groups participants gave insights regarding contents, utility, and limitations of the HRA: priority of health concerns and risk factors; potential use and advantage of the comprehensive instrument; ambivalence between needs for more information about one's health and preference for shorter summary reports; and needs to link results to available services. The usability testing revealed that people generally liked the experience of self-ministering, and skip patterns helped reduce completion burden. Participants were concerned were about the length of time for completing HRA, and suggested avoiding medical jargons and increasing visual appeal.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the need and the importance for assessing health risks among older workers. Discuss ideas for developing HRA for older workers.

Keyword(s): Aging, Adult Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working as the project coordinator for this NIA funded project. My research interests are aging, caregiving, and health communication interventions.
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.