Direct care can be strenuous work, as many individuals who receive long-term services and supports require extensive physical assistance in their daily lives. Yet even though home care workers and nursing assistants experience high rates of occupational injury, these injuries can be prevented through proper training and other measures. Drawing on an analysis of census data and a review of the published literature on occupational injuries across long-term care settings, this research brief describes the main causes of injury among direct care workers and identifies evidence-based strategies for mitigating those risks. By addressing high injury rates in direct care, the long-term care field can help improve the quality of life for direct care workers and stabilize care for their clients.
Occupational injury rates for direct care workers are among the highest in the country.
Direct care workers are most commonly injured when they overexert themselves through lifting and repositioning their clients.
Some workers take time off due to their injuries, though the majority (63 percent) do not receive pay while they are away from work.
Stephen McCall is a Data and Policy Analyst at PHI. In this capacity, he studies and writes about a variety of issues facing the direct care workforce–with the goal of reforming state and national policies.
Caring for the Future
Our new policy report takes an extensive look at today's direct care workforce—in five installments.