Work-Related Injuries Among Certified Nursing Assistants Working in US Nursing Homes

Source: Galina Khatutsky, Joshua M. Wiener, Wayne L. Anderson, and Frank W. Porell, RTI International, RTI Press publication RR-0017-1204, April 2012

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working in nursing homes are at significant risk for work-related injuries, but little is known about the frequency and types of such injuries and how assistive equipment such as patient lifts affect injury rates. This study uses 2004 data from the National Nursing Assistant Survey and the National Nursing Home Survey to analyze the prevalence, nature, and predictors of these injuries among CNAs working in US nursing homes. The study found that 60.2 percent of all CNAs nationally reported a work-related injury in the year prior to the survey; among injured CNAs, 65.8 percent reported being injured more than once in the past year, 16 percent required a transfer to light duty work, and 24 percent were unable to work because of their injury. The reported injuries varied in nature and included scratches, open wounds, back injuries, black eyes and other bruising, human bites, and strained or pulled muscles. In examining predictors of injury, the study found that although assistive equipment was readily available and often used, it was not associated with lower rates of workforce injuries. New workers, workers who change jobs more frequently, those reporting poor job preparation, workers who received lower wages, workers who felt that they had inadequate time to provide personal care, and those working mandatory overtime were more likely to have a workplace injury. CNAs who worked in facilities where they felt respected and rewarded for their work and where the organization valued their work were less likely to report an injury.

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