Personal Service Assistance: Musculoskeletal Disorders and Injuries in Consumer-Directed Home Care

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Like other types of care for disabled or elderly adults, consumer-directed personal assistance services may present multi-factorial risks for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs).


Using survey data, we compared providers experiencing WRMSDs in the previous year to those who did not, seeking to identify functional, temporal, physical, and relationship risk factors for transient and chronic conditions.


Longer work experience with the recipient and more frequent bending increased the risk of being in the most chronic group (≥12 painful episodes), whereas predictable work hours with rest breaks and greater social support from the recipient appeared protective. For transient conditions (one to two episodes), longer work experience with the recipient and predictable hours with rest breaks appeared protective.


We offer recommendations to improve hazard assessment as well as training and information distribution related to home care programs. With the population aging, home care jobs require increasing oversight to prevent WRMSDs.

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