Occupational factors related to slips, trips and falls among home healthcare workers

Objectives: Slip, trip and fall (STFs) injuries are a significant problem in all industries, yet there are no significant prior reports assessing the relationship between occupational factors and STFs among home healthcare workers (HHCWs) who represent an ever increasing number of workers in the healthcare sector. The unpredictable nature of the work environment specific to HHCWs may lead to an increase in injuries from STFs. The purpose of this study was to quantify associations between occupational factors and STFs among HHCWs.
Methods: This cross-sectional study of 870 HHCWs assessed relationships between 12-month period prevalence of falls and occupational factors. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Results: Nearly 18% (N = 152) of HHCWs reported at least one fall in 12 months. Nurses were significantly more likely to have had a fall (OR = 3.33). Years worked in HHC, and near miss accidents were also related to falls. Patient care factors related to falls included feeling rushed or hurried, increasing number of patients, patient's weight bearing status, combative patients, and issues of patient's homes (e.g. dangerous animals, problems with access to beds or toilets).
Conclusions: Numerous work organizational and patient care factors are associated with increased risk of falls among HHCWs. Many of these are readily modifiable and should be a focus for intervention.

Source: Merryweather, A. S., Thiese, M. S., Kapellusch, J. M., Garg, A., Fix, D. J., & Hegmann, K. T. (2017). Safety Science.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2017.07.002

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