An economic analysis of a safe resident handling program in nursing homes

Authors

  • Supriya Lahiri PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts
    • Professor, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave., Lowell, MA 01854.
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    • Professor.

  • Saira Latif PhD,

    1. Department of Management, College of Management, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts
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    • Associate Professor.

  • Laura Punnett ScD,

    1. Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts
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    • Professor.

  • the ProCare Research Team


  • I, Supriya Lahiri, worked on this project as Co- Investigator (supported by the U19-OH008857/NIOSH Grant) with Laura Punnett, Principal Investigator. I am a full professor with tenure at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and have no financial or commercial interests including consultation, investments, stock equity, ownership, stock options, patent licensing arrangement, or payment for conducting or publicizing the study. I was responsible for the economic analysis of the Safe Resident Handling Program in Nursing Homes.

Abstract

Background

Occupational injuries, especially back problems related to resident handling, are common in nursing home employees and their prevention may require substantial up-front investment. This study evaluated the economics of a safe resident handling program (SRHP), in a large chain of skilled nursing facilities, from the corporation's perspective.

Methods

The company provided data on program costs, compensation claims, and turnover rates (2003–2009). Workers' compensation and turnover costs before and after the intervention were compared against investment costs using the “net-cost model.”

Results

Among 110 centers, the overall benefit-to-cost ratio was 1.7–3.09 and the payback period was 1.98–1.06 year (using alternative turnover cost estimates). The average annualized net savings per bed for the 110 centers (using company based turnover cost estimates) was $143, with a 95% confidence interval of $22–$264. This was very similar to the average annualized net savings per full time equivalent (FTE) staff member, which was $165 (95% confidence interval $22–$308). However, at 49 centers costs exceeded benefits.

Conclusions

Decreased costs of worker injury compensation claims and turnover appear at least partially attributable to the SRHP. Future research should examine center-specific factors that enhance program success, and improve measures of turnover costs and healthcare productivity. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:469–478, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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