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Thread: OSHA Inspects Nursing Homes with High Injury Rates

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    OSHA Inspects Nursing Homes with High Injury Rates

    OSHA Inspects Nursing Homes with High Injury Rates
    Wed Sep 25, 1:25 PM ET
    By Dana Frisch

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( news - web sites) (OSHA) announced plans last week to begin targeted inspections of nursing and personal care facilities with injury and illness rates higher than the industry average.

    The nursing home industry has an injury and illness rate over 2.5 times higher than that of general industry. In 2000, the last year for which data is available, there were almost 75,000 injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays among nurses' aids ( news - web sites) and orderlies, for an average of almost 8 workdays lost due to illness or injury for every 100 full-time employees. The average for general industry is 3 days.

    OSHA will first target 1,000 facilities that have 14 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays for every 100 full-time employees. Its secondary focus, an OSHA spokesperson told Reuters Health, will be facilities with 8 or more lost workdays.

    According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2000, in a list of selected professions, only truck drivers and non-construction laborers lost more workdays than nurses' aids and orderlies.

    This announcement comes at the end of a 60-day outreach initiative supporting the new National Emphasis Program begun in July, which focused inspection efforts on the hazards most common in nursing and personal care facilities. Staff are most frequently injured while moving or handling a resident, or by slips, trips and falls. Exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials, or to TB, are leading causes of illness.

    The National Emphasis Program is expected to last until the end of September 2003 unless it is renewed. Inspections will be focused rather than comprehensive, said the OSHA spokesperson, because 1996-1998 inspections in the seven states with the most nursing homes revealed that "the data was so good that we knew what the most common injuries were and where to target our inspections."

    Outreach, such as training seminars and booths at conferences, is being coordinated at the local and regional level and is tailored to the specific problems in the care facilities under their jurisdiction. For example, ergonomics training is being offered to help staff learn the correct way to lift or move patients without injuring themselves.

    Jennifer Hilliard, public policy attorney for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, told Reuters Health that even if homes comply with the National Emphasis Program guidelines for ergonomics, they might still be in violation of those set out in the general duties clause and be prosecuted. "What remains to be seen is how it actually plays out," she said.

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  2. #2
    Gee, ya think they might be able to study the injury and illness rates among patients while they're at it?!

    Tough times don't last - tough people do.

  3. #3

    Nurse injuries

    This is a major health problem, not only in nursing homes but in regular hospitals and home care as well. The fact that nurses are in the top 3 professions with OTJ injuries is appauling, especially due to the current and growing nursing shortage. It is not only making people leave the profession, but discouraging others from entering it in the first place. When we loose a nurse to an injury, we cannot replace them until it is determined that they are permanently disabled, which may take many months.

    In addition, this is expensive, and costs employers a lot of money that should be spent on patient care and improved staffing instead. We figure that the direct costs of one nurse injury to our hospital averages $50,000, and the indirect costs are usually 3-6X the direct costs.

    We have to stop thinking of nurses as disposable commodities. This IS a concern for health care consumers...not just nurses.

    In Europe the use of mechanical devices for patient lifting and transfers is mandated by law, and enforced. This is also true (for the most part) in Canada and Australia too. They look at our practices as outdated and barbaric, and rightly so.

    We have lost many good nurses both to SCI care and rehab as well as to the profession due to back, neck, shoulder and wrist (mostly CTS) injuries, as well as knee injuries. This is such a waste of education and experience, yet most nurses are unable to work in the field without doing the heavy physical labor required, even with a bachelor's or masters degree.

    Over much objection we have implemented a "no-lift" policy at our hospital in the SCI center and are using mechanical lifts for all dependent to moderate assist transfers. We have installed ceiling track lifts in all inpatient rooms, clinics and in the therapy gym. We still are doing slide board transfers if the patient can do 50% or more, but have eliminated "quad pivot" transfers completely. We are also now regularly writing up medical justifications for providing both mobile power lifts as well as ceiling track lifts for our patients in the community.

    Nursing homes are often resistant to this due to the expense, but I know at least one large worker's comp insurer in that industry that will provide FREE lifts and training to any of their nursing home clients who will assure that they are used by staff, and this is becoming more and more common.


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