Research Projects

Pro-Care II Study: Health improvement for nursing home workers

Promoting Physical and Mental Health of Caregivers through Trans-disciplinary Intervention

Nursing aides are at high risk for low back injury and other muscle and joint injuries due to their physical job demands. Physical assault at work, overweight and smoking are also commonly reported in this working population. High work demands and low job control can be related to job stress and high rates of job turnover among these workers. Many of these health and safety concerns were observed during a prior study (Pro-Care I).

In the Pro-Care II study, CPH-NEW investigators are working with a large chain of nursing care centers to examine organizational and corporate-wide factors that influence the health and safety of employees and residents. 

Goals of the research: 

  1. Identify quality indicators of a healthy work environment in the long-term care industry. For example, what are the organizational features that predict safety, health and satisfaction for both employees and residents? Are better outcomes associated with a cluster of quality indicators, or do one or two indicators matter most? 
  2. Evaluate the long-term trends in worker compensation claims following the implementation of a Safe Resident Handling Program (SRHP). By examining long-term trends, we can assess future sustainability of the program. 
  3. Evaluate the facility-level, longer-term cost-effectiveness of the company’s SRHP and worksite health promotion (WHP) programs. Pro-Care I investigators observed substantial net-cost savings to the multi-facility study host organization associated with both SRHP and WHP programs. Pro-Care II will assess net-cost savings on the facility level and expand the study period to assess longer term trends in costs and benefits. 
  4. Understand the effect the SRHP has on return-to-work outcomes such as length of disability, severity of injury, and recurrent injuries among workers with low-back or resident handling-related injuries. 
  5. Characterize the factors that can help sustain a successful participatory health design program in the workplace. The Pro-Care II study builds on the results of the Pro-Care I project (2006-2011). This study evaluated the health and economic outcomes of a Safe Resident Handling Program (SRHP) that was designed to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in nursing aides by using mechanical lifts to move and reposition residents. SRHP outcomes were compared in facilities that did and did not sponsor employee health promotion activities for evidence of greater effectiveness for integrated programs. This study documented substantial net cost benefits as a result of the SHRP, and identified organizational characteristics that appear to work against employee health and safety such as night shift work, low social support, low decision-making authority, and low social support on the job.