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Safe Lifting Programs at Long-Term Care Facilities and Their Impact on Workers' Compensation Costs

Restrepo, Tanya E. MBA; Schmid, Frank A. Dr.habil.; Gucer, Patricia W. PhD; Shuford, Harry L. PhD; Shyong, Chun J. BA; McDiarmid, Melissa A. MD, MPH, DABT

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: January 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 1 - p 27–35
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318270d535
Original Articles

Objective: To determine the utility of a safe lifting program index and a measure of lift inventory to predict workers' compensation claim frequency and costs in long-term care facilities in 23 states.

Methods: Workers' compensation claims and cost data were matched to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)–certified facilities (N = 656). Facility safe lifting program index were derived from interviews with directors of nursing in a subset (N = 271).

Results: The higher the safe lift index score, the lower the claims and costs. An increase of one lift per 100 residents is associated with a 5% decrease in claims frequency and an 11% decrease in total costs on average.

Conclusion: In this national study, we find that a comprehensive safe lift program, endorsed and promoted by directors of nursing, reduces caregiver injury as measured by workers' compensation claims frequency and costs.

From the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (Drs Gucer, McDiarmid); and National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc, Boca Raton, Fla (Ms Restrepo, Drs Schmid, Shuford, Ms Shyong).

Address correspondence to: Patricia W. Gucer, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, University Square Building, 11 S Paca Street, 2nd floor, Baltimore, MD 21201 (pgucer@medicine.umaryland.edu).

This study has been supported by The Commonwealth Fund.

The authors have no conflict of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine