Safety of union home care aides in Washington State

Source: Ashley L. Schoenfisch, Hester Lipscomb and Leslie E. Phillips, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 60 Issue 9, September 2017
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From the abstract:
Introduction:
A rate-based understanding of home care aides’ adverse occupational outcomes related to their work location and care tasks is lacking.

Methods:
Within a 30-month, dynamic cohort of 43 394 home care aides in Washington State, injury rates were calculated by aides’ demographic and work characteristics. Injury narratives and focus groups provided contextual detail.

Results:
Injury rates were higher for home care aides categorized as female, white, 50 to <65 years old, less experienced, with a primary language of English, and working through an agency (versus individual providers). In addition to direct occupational hazards, variability in workload, income, and supervisory/social support is of concern. Conclusions: Policies should address the roles and training of home care aides, consumers, and managers/supervisors. Home care aides’ improved access to often-existing resources to identify, manage, and eliminate occupational hazards is called for to prevent injuries and address concerns related to the vulnerability of this needed workforce.c