graphical header showing various types of workers

Exploring the conditions of work and contextual mechanisms that influence return-to-work following work-related injury in a cohort of patient care workers in Massachusetts

October 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Hospital Patient Care Workers (PCWs) are at increased risk of injury as a result of hazards in their work environment, psychosocial work stressors, workplace culture, the organization of their work, and their interactions with patients. Because of this, healthcare workers have some of the highest rates of injuries, workers’ compensation claims, and prolonged periods off work. It is critical to determine the mechanisms influencing post-injury return-to-work (RTW) outcomes.

In collaboration with the Center’s Boston Hospital Workers Health Study and Mass General Brigham, this study used a mixed methods approach aiming to (1) examine the relationships between the conditions of work, individual worker factors, and other potential mechanisms in the RTW process that influence RTW outcomes following a work-related injury in a cohort of Boston hospital PCWs; and (2) explore the RTW experiences of such workers through qualitative inquiry. The pilot’s findings have implications for RTW and Total Worker Health® interventions in the healthcare industry; provide recommendations regarding RTW policies and processes for healthcare workers in Massachusetts and the U.S.; and guide future research studying mechanisms influencing RTW outcomes for hospital workers.

Funding for this research was provided by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Education and Research Center.