It's no secret that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are physically demanding places to work. From back injuries caused by lifting patients to slipping and falling on a wet floor, these workers face occupational hazards unique to their profession that can potentially lead to long-term, debilitating injuries.
With studies showing that workers at these facilities face injuries four times more often than workers in industries typically considered “dangerous”, researchers in Ohio recently took aim at bolstering workplace safety using an innovative blend of movement science and video game technology.
Preventing nursing home injuries in Ohio
According to ABC 5 in Cleveland, the state's $1 billion spent on workers' compensation claims are represented, in large part, by those injured while working at nursing homes and other personal care facilities.
As a result of these startling statistics, ABC 5 reported that Cleveland State University Health Science researchers received a quarter-million dollar grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to work with Northeast Ohio nursing home employees on accident and injury prevention.
Researchers told ABC 5 their primary focus centered around every day movements made by employees. Using video game technology – the namely the Xbox Kinect video camera – researchers installed the technology in patient rooms and began by watching workers go about their day.
From there, ABC 5 reported that researchers were notified of incorrect movements by way of monitors attached to nursing home employees, providing feedback to workers to help reinforce safe movement techniques.
What are common nursing home worker injuries?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are considered more dangerous than other industries for a number of reasons. Not only are nurses and nurses' aides on their feet for long hours, but due to frequent contact with patients, co-workers and equipment, are also exposed to hazardous situations every day.
The following represent some of the most common accidents sustained by personal care facility workers:
- Overexertion and repetitive stress injuries.
- Patient handling (lifting) injuries.
- Fall down accidents.
- Needle and puncture wound injuries.
With workers at risk of sprains, strains, broken bones and other serious injuries, it's critical that nursing home facility employees and employers alike take every step necessary to prevent injury. A failure to do so could result in a workplace injury or a complex claim requiring legal assistance from an experienced attorney.