Safe Resident Handling Program Produces High Return on Investment
The Safe Resident Handling Program (SRHP) resulted in substantial decreases in physical load on the back in nursing aides, overall, although this varied somewhat among centers in relation to organizational features such as communication among staff and equipment availability. In addition, the SRHP was followed by large reductions in costs of workers compensation claims and employee turnover, which produced a high return on investment from this program. Nursing home facilities that also offered employee health promotion activities had greater economic benefits. At the same time, we showed that MSD risk was higher among nursing home staff who had been physically assaulted at work by residents or their visitors.
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Overweight, smoking, and lack of exercise in nursing home workers were strongly related to stressors such as high work demands, low job control, night work and work-family imbalance. These sources of job stress are sometimes viewed differently by staff and nursing home administrator. Job stress deserves attention as it predicts intention to leave the job, which is an important issue because turnover rates are so high in the nursing home workforce. (Turnover was an important cost item in the return-on-investment analyses.) While not as easily remedied as purchasing resident lifting devices, psychological stress can be reduced by improving the work climate and implementing participatory programs.
Working with multiple data sets from the same nursing home company, we are currently working on Phase II of the study.