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 Niki Howard by email: howo@Lni.wa.gov or Phone: 360-902-5657.

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 Niki Howard by email: howo@Lni.wa.gov or Phone: 360-902-5657.

Publications

Technical Reports

In-Home Care Services: An Examination of the Washington State Workers' Compensation Claims Data, 2012-2016

Home Care Services: An Examination of the Washington State Workers' Compensation Claims Data, 2010-2014

SHARP Stats

Injuries in Home Care Services, 2012-2016

Injuries in Home Health Services, 2012-2016

Injury Claim Rates in Home Health Services and Nursing Homes: Washington State Workers’ Compensation State Fund, 2012-2016.

Journal Articles

Howard NL, Adams D, Cole J.  An examination of Washington State workers’ compensation claims for home-based health care workers, 2006 to 2016: Part 1. Description of claims and claimants. Home Health Care Management & Practice. First published online February 2022. DOI: 10.1177/10848223221075052.

Howard NL, Adams D, Marcum J, Cole J. An examination of Washington State worker’s compensation claims for home-based health care workers, 2006 to 2016: Part 2. Injury rates and trends.  Home Health Care Management & Practice. First published online February 2022.  DOI: 10.1177/10848223221076491.

Brigham CJ, Davis KG, Howard N, Macomber MS, McGlothin JD. Home health care aides: Occupational health and safety challenges and Opportunities: White paper. AIHA, 5 Aug. 2021. https://aiha-assets.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/AIHA/resources/White-Papers/Home-Health-Care-Aides-Occupational-Health-and-Safety-Challenges-and-Opportunities-White-Paper.pdf

Howard NL, Marcum J.  Comparison of BRFSS data between home-based care providers and health care support workers in clinical environments in Washington State.  Workplace Health and Safety, 2020; 68(2): 92-102 . DOI: 10.1177/2165079919857448

Howard N, Marcum J.  Home-Based Care Provider Health – Comparison of BRFSS Data Between Home-Based Care Providers and Health Care Support Workers in Clinical Environments in Washington State.  Research Findings

Howard N. Guest editorial: Achieving safe patient handling and mobility for in-home care aides.  International Journal of Safe Patient Handling & Mobility, 2019; 9(2): 54-55. Guest Editorial

Howard N. Special feature: Identifying the risks of the working environment of home-base care.  International Journal of Safe Patient Handling & Mobility, 2016; 6(4): 166-170.  Special Feature