Scherzer, T. (2006, Nov 07) How do diverse homecare workers address occupational hazards and injury?. Presented at the American Public Health Association 134th Annual Meeting and Exposition hosted by APHA.
"Homecare" is a primary mode of long-term care. In the U.S., approximately 1 million homecare workers provide personal care services (e.g., bathing, dressing) for elders and persons with disabilities who live in community settings. Most of these workers are mostly midlife, low-SES women; an increasing proportion of workers are hired directly by recipients through "consumer-directed" programs (in contrast to an agency model of service). The changing organization of homecare may unintentionally disadvantage homecare workers by introducing an ambiguous employment situation where the there is no"management" to which the worker can address concerns about occupational hazards, ask for assistance, receive occupational safety training, report occupational injury, or file a workers' compensation claim. This study used qualitative methods to explore 50 injured homecare workers' experiences of and responses to occupational injury, comparing individually-hired and agency workers from diverse ethnic and language groups. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews, injured homecare workers (English-, Spanish-, and Chinese-speaking) were interviewed about their injuries and their experiences with physicians, social services staff, their clients, and workers' compensation staff. Workers described the physical and emotional work of homecare, their occupational safety knowledge, and their ability to work safely within the physical and social environments of their clients' homes and environs. Preliminary results indicate numerous barriers exist for homecare workers to work safely, receive timely or appropriate injury-related medical care, or receive workers' compensation benefits. Despite certain differences by ethnic groups, individually-hired workers face greater obstacles, compared to agency-employed workers.
At the end of the session, participants will:
- Identify barriers that injured homecare workers face regarding addressing occupational hazards or injury
- Identify differences in addressing occupational hazards or injury between workers of different ethnic and language groups
- Identify differences in addressing occupational hazards or injury between individually-hired and agency-employed workers
Keywords: Home Care