Video paves the way for home care success and safety

Individuals receiving services from home care aides often need help with preparation to be sure the experience is both positive and safe.

A new video from the Betsy Lehman Center, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell Safe Home Care Project, guides people through the process of preparing their homes and understanding their role in creating a good working relationship with a home care worker.

"Home care is an essential part of the health care system. It allows thousands of older adults and people with disabilities across the state to remain in their communities and eases the burden on more intensive care settings, like hospitals and nursing homes.” says Barbara Fain, Executive Director of the Betsy Lehman Center. “But it also poses unique safety challenges for clients and their aides.”

The video accompanies an illustrated safety handbook created by the Safe Home Care Project in collaboration with 12 research partners from the Massachusetts home care community. Both feature illustrations with information about what to expect and tips to make their spaces safer for receiving services such as help bathing, dressing or cleaning. The video also includes interviews with home care workers who share reasons why they are committed to the field of care work, and what they wish people knew before welcoming them into their homes.

“Having a new person come into your personal space can be stressful. By including home care workers in the video, we want to forge a connection even before an aide steps through the door,” says Margaret Quinn, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Safe Home Care Project. “It introduces home care workers as real people, professionals who want to provide the best care possible. It sets a tone of mutual respect and shows that safety in home care benefits both clients and the aides who visit them — a win-win.”

Quinn says they've gotten positive feedback about the video and handbook from managers, aides and clients. A team of researchers at the Safe Home Care Project recently finished collecting data about the use of the safety intervention materials as a part of grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They are currently studying the information and plan to release results of their research later this year.


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