Risks of occupational safety and health hazards among home care aides
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 11:02 a.m. - 11:18 a.m.
Objectives: Home care (HC) is one of the fastest growing industries and HC aide one of the fastest growing jobs, yet there are few quantitative studies of HC working conditions and occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards. Often the home is not recognized as a legitimate workplace and HC aides perform their work in isolation in many different settings. HC aides are predominantly female, low wage, socially diverse, and often immigrants. This study, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has the following objectives: to assess and quantify the occurrence of a range of OSH hazards among HC aides and to evaluate the variability of these hazards across different HC aide jobs. Methods: HC aides were recruited via agencies that employ them and through a labor union of aides hired directly by families. A questionnaire was developed and administered at HC agency offices and via the mail. Results: Completed questionnaires were obtained from more than 1200 HC aides, distributed approximately equally between agency-employed and family-employed aides. Rates of hazards per 1,000 visits were calculated including client/family aggression and violence, patient handling and lifting, slip/trip/fall hazards, exposure to infectious pathogens, indoor environmental hazards, and psychosocial strain. Conclusions: Quantification of hazards is needed to prioritize resources for the development of interventions and to provide a foundation for etiologic research. HC aides are particularly vulnerable to OSH hazards because they have few resources. Improving OSH in HC is an important part of insuring a viable workforce for the future.
Occupational health and safety
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research
Describe home care work organization and working conditions and how they contribute to occupational safety and health hazards of home care aides.
List the major occupational safety and health hazards experienced by home care aides.
Compare the quantitative risk estimates of occupational safety and health hazards among home care aides.
Keyword(s): Home Care, Occupational Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am principle investigator (PI) on the federally-funded grant that supports the research presented here. I have served as PI on other grants related to this topic. Our research on home care workers has been ongoing for more than seven years. We work with community, industry, labor, and government partners, learning from all. I teach the research methods used in this study in courses in our graduate programs.
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.