Background Staffing wellness and physical capacity to undertake care tasks are essential to ensuring a resident/consumer focussed approach to care delivery. The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus implemented a staff exercise program with the intention of improving workplace culture and wellness amongst our staff. The program involves two streams of the workforce – direct care givers and administration/office based staff.
Description of Problem The workforce in our organisation identified a higher than average injury rate than industry norm. Our staff were experiencing higher injury rates as a result of undertaking manual handling activities. The most common approach is to ‘fix the person’, a reactive measure applied once an injury has occurred. This is considered a medical management approach whereby the employer reacts to an injury and the treatment required, and then manages the return to work process. An alternative strategy to reduce or prevent work related musculoskeletal pain and disorders may be achieved by increasing an employee’s physical capacity through exercise training interventions.
Results The positive effects of the program are a decrease in Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate and a decrease in Injury Notifications of staff resulting from manual handling injuries
Results for staff have shown increase in satisfaction which is directly related to improvements in wellness and increased dexterity. Happy and Healthy staff who sustain less physical injury as a result of manual handling tasks in the aged care work environment result in improved manual handling techniques utilised in physical care for residents. This program has significantly reduced staff injury and resulted in an increased retention of staff and greater continuity of care for residents.
Conclusions The implementation of the program has had a significant effect on qualitative measures such as satisfaction and resulted in measured reduction of lost time injuries and frequency rates. The anecdotal experience indicates the program has been successful in enhancing a safety management approach in a health care environment.
- Injury prevention
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