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On-the-job injuries hurt home health care industry
Date:8/9/2010

Training can alleviate some of the pain that occupational injuries bring to the long-term care industry, according to Penn State researchers. The study looked at injuries among home health aides.

Home health aides typically visit patients' homes to assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and eating. Many people enrolled in home health care have multiple health challenges, which can result in erratic and sometimes violent behavior. Home health aides also engage in manual labors like lifting patients. These aides are often injured multiple times on the job and these injuries affect more than just the employees. Home-health-care organizations and the long-term-care industry suffer from the effects of these occupational injuries, the researchers report at the 2010 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Montreal.

"In our research, we saw a cascading effect," said Deirdre McCaughey, assistant professor of health policy and administration. "Employees who had no training or did not believe their training prepared them well had more injuries. Those employees were also much less likely than non-injured employees to recommend their organization as a place at which to work or seek services."

The researchers analyzed data from the nationally representative 2007 National Home Health Aide Survey, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Findings show a significant drop in injury rates when employees had training. Non-injured employees had much higher job satisfaction rates and lower turnover intentions than injured employees, too.

"Employees who received training have lower injury rates," said McCaughey. "What this suggests is that investing finances into soft resources can have tangible benefits to organizations. Organizations tend to cut back on spending on soft resources, especially during hard economic times, because there is usually no
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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