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STUDIES: Nursing Home Workers Risk Injuries, Poor Sleep

February 18, 2016

Two recent studies demonstrate the difficult conditions that many nursing home employees — particularly certified nursing assistants — deal with on a daily basis.

One study, published last month on the website of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, shows that nursing home workers who get injured on the job are more likely to be fired than uninjured workers.

The researchers looked at data from more than 1,300 nursing home workers — nearly 70 percent of whom were certified nursing assistants — across an 18-month span. Approximately 30 percent were hurt on the job during that time.

“Compared with workers who reported experiencing no occupational injury, those who reported experiencing occupational injuries had significantly higher risks of subsequent overall job loss,” the study’s authors wrote.

The study shows that nursing home workers’ risk of being fired increased within the six-month period after suffering an on-the-job injury.

Additionally, the researchers found that workers are more likely to leave their nursing home jobs voluntarily after sustaining multiple injuries at work.

A separate study, published in the January issue of Geriatric Nursing, shows that nearly half (46 percent) of nursing assistants reported short sleep duration, a significantly higher percentage than the national average, which is around 30 percent.

Almost a quarter of the nursing assistants surveyed (23 percent) said that the sleep they did manage to get was of poor quality.

Approximately 650 nursing assistants working in 15 long-term care facilities were interviewed.

Additionally, the researchers found that sleep quality correlated with seven factors: physical demands, physical safety, violence at work, psychological demands, decision latitude, social support, and work-family conflict.

“Workers with more beneficial work features had longer sleep duration and better sleep quality,” the researchers concluded.

“Considering the potential impact of nursing assistants’ sleep on resident safety and quality of care, as well as on their own health, this finding deserves attention from [long-term care] managers and policymakers,” they added.

— by Matthew Ozga

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