The Commission is pleased to be working with ACC who have funded a quality improvement (QI) facilitator programme. The focus of this initiative is to identify ways to reduce staff injury in the participating aged residential care facilities while building capability in quality improvement science and grow workforce capability.
There are unacceptably high rates of worker injuries in the healthcare and social assistance sector, and the aged residential care (ARC) sub-sector is a high priority for ACC. While worker injuries as such are not within the immediate scope of the Commission’s work, we are encouraged to improve the capability of staff in ARC in the science of quality improvement. This will strengthen a quality improvement culture in facilities and build skills that are transferrable to other resident focused quality improvement initiatives. This initiative will also help to establish a quality improvement network for ARC to support sharing and learning.
So, how big is the problem?
- Worker injuries in the ARC sector have had a 21 percent higher growth in average claim cost compared with other sectors.
- In 2016, 4.1 percent of the ARC workforce claimed for a workplace injury. Of these workers who had a claim, they had 8 percent more time taken off work per injury than in other sectors (on average).
- Nearly 40 percent of all claims come from lifting and carrying incidents.
- Over 30 percent of all claims are back or spinal injuries.
- Fifty percent of claims are from workers over 50 years of age.
- The average cost of a back/spine injury for 50–60 years of age group is 20 percent greater than the average claim cost in this sector. Older workers typically take longer to recover.
- Assaults from challenging behaviours of residents are also a known problem in the sector, although these are not always reported and do not always result in an ACC claim.
How is ACC supporting the ARC sector to reduce worker injuries?
On 19 March 2019 the first ARC quality improvement facilitator workshop was held at Ko Awatea, Counties Manukau District Health Board.
Staff members from fourteen ARC facilities have been selected for the programme. They come from a wide range of ARC providers from across New Zealand. Participants include registered nurses, carers, quality coordinators, human resource staff and clinical nurse managers. All have quality as a key component of their roles. Most participants have selected quality improvement projects to focus on reducing staff injury related to assault or moving and handling of residents.
The Commission is working with ACC and Ko Awatea to help support the participants in their learning journey. We will profile the progress of projects and participants through the nine-month programme.