Overview

Health Care in the Home Environment

Health care delivery is increasingly moving to the home environment. There are several factors fueling this change including:

  • The population is aging. Life expectancy is increasing.
  • In-home care has been shown to be more cost-effective than institutional care.
  • In-home care can maximize independence while minimizing the effects of disability and illness.
  • In-home care contributes to increased quality of life for care recipients.

However, the occupational environment in which health care in the home environment is delivered and the risk to those providing that care has only recently become a focus.

The Home Health Aide Study: Identifying Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders Washington’s Home Health Care Industry

SHARP is conducting a 5-year study to understand the risk factors that may contribute to work-related musculoskeletal disorders to home health aides. We hope the information gathered will be used to prevent these types of injuries.

The study has several phases including:

  • Reviewing workers’ compensation data to understand trends.
  • Interviewing injured home health aide to understand how their injuries occurred.
  • Administering an industry-wide survey of home health care aides.
  • Performing on-site observations of home health aid tasks.

If you would like more information or if you would like to participate in the study, please contact Jena Cole by email: Jena.Cole@Lni.wa.gov or Phone: 360-902-6836.

Current Study Activities

On-site observations of home health aid tasks

An important research activity is the observations of home health aides as they perform their work. SHARP is recruiting home health care agencies and their home health aides to participate in these home site visits.

During the home site visit, SHARP researchers will:

  • Evaluate the risk of musculoskeletal injury to the back, shoulder and arms using a variety of observations assessment tools,
  • Ask the home health aide and the client to each complete a short survey,
  • Measure the back postures of the home health aide as she/he performs their work.

If you would like more information or if you would like to participate in the study, please contact Jena Cole by email: Jena.Cole@Lni.wa.gov or Phone: 360-902-6836.

Publications