Having spent a number of years on OSHA’s ‘Ergonomics Team’, which focused on enforcement in long term care facilities and meat processing plants, long term care (LTC) facilities happen to be something of a passion area for me. Historically, the long term care industry leads the nation in injury/illness rates, in part due to repetitive physical responsibilities involved with caring for our most vulnerable population.
Since most of the customers we work with have trouble aligning training topics with personnel and teams, I would divide them into 5-groups: dietary, laundry, maintenance, nursing and housekeeping. And for nursing I would include any level of care-staff, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and possibly even the admins if they are asked to pitch-in with resident cares when staffing is low (it is always low).
To satisfy OSHA safety training requirements and simplify what can be a tiresome exercise for large employers with many diverse job types, I am recommending the following training topics as appropriate for each of the five aforementioned long-term care employee groups.
The topics include the following (safety topics highlighted):
- Caring for the Family Experiencing Perinatal Death
- Communicating with the Bereaved
- Theoretical Framework of Grief
- HIPAA for Covered Entities
- Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation
- Back Care Ergonomics
- Fire Safety: Patient Evacuation
- Medical Hazard Communication
- Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare
- Restraint and Seclusion
- Medicare Compliance and the False Claims Act
I would urge employers to read and experience each of those similar course descriptions and titles to determine which is best suited to the particular department work exposures, though each title here will support the work of safety and HR personnel.
Without firsthand knowledge of specific equipment, working environments, and exact job responsibilities, I’d wager that this training regimen is about 85-90% accurate against training need. You’ll also notice duplicate recommendations for courses in our healthcare training suite and our general OSHA series.
The expensive phenomenon of injuries and illnesses associated long-term care workers is such a widespread issue that—aside from focused enforcement—OSHA has a dedicated webpage that is actually helpful for employers seeking direction on where to focus.
Many facilities aspire to earn accreditation by The Joint Commission, which, at a minimum, requires compliance with OSHA safety laws and standards.
If you’re looking for information to help tell the story of compliance to leadership, you might also consider calculating injury & illness rates for your organization by department and compare to industry averages, doing a 3-year look back to the present. This is also a great way to identify and prioritize training needs.