Factors associated with high physical exertion during healthcare work: Cross-sectional study among healthcare workers [Epub ahead of print]

Tidsskriftartikel - 2022

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BACKGROUND: High physical exertion during healthcare work is a documented risk factor for musculoskeletal pain, long term sickness absence and disability pension. Understanding the underlying factors of physical exertion is important to make the necessary preventive efforts in the working environment.

OBJECTIVE: This study investigates factors associated with high physical exertion during healthcare work.

METHODS: A total of 2047 Danish health care workers replied to a questionnaire about work and health. Associations (odds ratios; OR) of physical exertion (outcome variable) with the number of patients and self-reliant patients, frequency and type of assistive device use, BMI, leisure time activity, smoking, and age were modelled using mutually adjusted binary logistic regression.

RESULTS: Factors associated with high physical exertion (OR and 95% CI) were high frequency of daily patient transfers 1.35 (1.23 - 1.48), less self-reliant patients 0.74 (0.62 - 0.89), less frequent use of necessary assistive devices 1.82 (1.50 - 2.21), as well as more frequent use of sliding pieces 1.23 (1.04 - 1.46), wheelchairs 1.23 (1.02 - 1.49), bed adjustments 0.88 (0.77 - 1.00) and intelligent beds 0.83 (0.71 - 0.95) during patient transfer. Age and lifestyle factors (BMI, smoking, and leisure time physical activity) were not associated with high physical exertion.

CONCLUSIONS: The character of patient transfer specific healthcare work is associated with increased odds for high physical exertion whereas life-style factors are not. Thus, proper use of specific assistive devices and avoiding uneven distribution of difficult patients through appropriate planning may be protective strategies for lowering physical exertion during healthcare work.

Reference

Jakobsen MD, Vinstrup J, Andersen LL. Factors associated with high physical exertion during healthcare work: Cross-sectional study among healthcare workers [Epub ahead of print]. Work 2022;71(4):881-888.
doi: 10.3233/WOR-213647

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