Home Healthcare (HC) is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. and the trend will increase in the next decades. This reflects numerous factors: traditionally in-hospital medical procedures now performed at home, advances in technologies, healthcare cost containment, improved infection control, and the desire of most Americans to be cared for at home. At the same time, the U.S. population is living longer with multiple chronic conditions that require increasingly complex medical and personal home care. Little consideration has been given to the home as a workplace or to the occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards of HC workers. The objective of the proposed study is to assess qualitatively and quantitatively a broad range of OSH hazards experienced by HC workers, with a focus on aides, and to work with HC agencies, unions, and frontline workers to identify and disseminate effective OSH interventions. The research will build on a previous NIOSH- funded study, 2004-2008, and will expand an active network of HC industry and labor partners.
This study aims to improve the occupational safety &health (OSH) of home care (HC) workers, a rapidly growing, under-studied, low-wage, diverse population. Insuring OSH in HC improves the health &safety of patient/clients, as well as that of workers. Timing is critical, as HC is one of the fastest growing industries, the U.S. population is aging, and complex medical and personal care is increasingly done at home.
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