Staffing and Work Injury in Nursing Homes

As the population grows and ages, more of us are faced with the decision to move ourselves or our loved ones into a nursing home. Deciding to move can be challenging and stressful, often due to misconceptions about the homes and facilities. To make a happy and confident decision that’s right for you and your loved one, it’s important to understand not only the quality of the nursing home, but to be educated on nursing home workers and the injuries that they face every day.

Chances are you didn’t know that 60 percent of nursing assistants employed in the nursing homes incur occupational injuries, ranging from back injuries to cuts, burns, human bites, and black eyes, according to EHS Today.

Working injuries are very common among nursing assistants, but not much is known about the causes of the incidents. Accidents including lifting, bathing or hauling residents, and resident aggression are all common among nursing assistants.

Of those injured, about 66 percent reported being injured more than once in the past year, according to the study, “Work-Related Injuries Among Certified Nursing Assistants Working in U.S. Nursing Homes,” which was conducted by researchers at RTI International.

Lifting Injuries

Although lifting heavy equipment is one of the most reported causes of injury, a majority of nursing assistants lift equipment and use it regularly. Researchers are still examining the relationship between assistive equipment in nursing homes and workplace injuries among nursing assistants.

New workers and those who change jobs often, and who receive a lower wage, reported having an inadequate amount of time for personal care. However, nursing assistants who felt respected and paid-well for their work reported that they were less likely to have an injury.

Workplace Interventions

Although the worker’s health is important, work-related injuries can give the nursing home a bad reputation and lower satisfaction rating. It can also greatly decrease job satisfaction, contribute to job shortages and affect the quality and well-being of care provided by the nursing assistants.

There are over 1.4 million nursing homes across the country. There are multiple interventions taken at nursing homes to improve the quality of care, including more comprehensive training for nursing assistants, decreasing mandatory work overtime, and reducing job turnover rates.

Next time you’re researching the perfect nursing home for you and/or your loved one, make sure to examine the profiles of the nursing assistants and ask questions about the quality of care provided. We hope you’ll be comfortable and confident in your decision!