Linking Incidents in Long-Term Care Facilities to Worker Activities

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This article reports on a study examining staff activities being performed when incidents were reported to have occurred. The risk for injury among health care providers who engage in patient handling activities is widely acknowledged. For those working in long-term care, the risk of occupational injury is particularly high. Although injuries and injury prevention have been widely studied, the work has generally focused on incident rates and the impact of specific assistive devices on worker safety. The purpose of this study was to examine reported staff incidents in relation to staff activities. A multicenter cross-sectional exploratory study used retrospective data from reported staff incidents (2010, 2011, and 2012) and prospective data from 360 hours of staff observations in five long-term care facilities during 2013. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. A total of 898 staff incidents were reviewed from the facilities. Incidents were most likely to occur in resident rooms. Resident aides were more likely to be engaged in high-risk activities than other care providers. Times when staff incidents were reported to have occurred were not associated with periods of high staff-to-resident contact. Safe handling during low and moderate risk activities should be promoted. Education on what constitutes a reportable incident and strategies to ensure compliance with reporting policies and procedures may be needed to ensure accuracy and completeness of incident data.

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