Insurers applaud nursing homes that have implemented injury prevention efforts focusing on resident lifting and repositioning methods since it can greatly reduce the number of claims filed by workers injured in the execution of their duties. Workers compensation underwriters can provide lower rates to those having achieved considerable success in reducing work-related injuries and associated workers’ compensation costs.
There are other additional benefits for some facilities that are able to provide a safer and more comfortable work environment, including the following:
- Reduced staff turnover
- Associated training and administrative cost reduction
- Reduced absenteeism
- Increased productivity
- Improved employee morale, and
- Increased resident comfort
These guidelines provide recommendations for employers that can aid them in reducing the number, as well as severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in their facilities, using methods found to have been successful in other nursing home environments.
After all, providing care to nursing home residents can be physically demanding work. Nursing home residents often require assistance in performing ordinary tasks such as walking, bathing, or other normal daily activities. In some instances, residents are totally dependent upon caregivers for mobility. Manual lifting and other tasks involving the repositioning of residents are associated with an increased risk of pain and injury to caregivers, particularly to the lower back.
These tasks often result in high physical demands due to the large amount of weight involved, awkward postures that may be a result of leaning over beds or working in confined areas, and the shifting of weight that may occur if a resident loses balance or strength while moving patients is another serious factor. The risk factors that workers in nursing homes face include the amount of physical effort required to perform a task, performing the same motion or series of motions continually or frequently, and assuming positions that place stress on the body, such as reaching above shoulder height, kneeling, squatting, leaning over a bed, or twisting the torso while lifting.
The number and severity of injuries resulting from physical demands in nursing homes and associated costs are something that workers compensation underwriters look at, and those can be substantially reduced by practicing safer work procedures and methods.