Caregivers at Home

Measuring the Risk of Injury from Bathing and Toileting

Problem

Helping with bathing and using the toilet are two of the most physically demanding tasks for caregivers. Challenges with these tasks often result in the decision to move out of their homes into nursing homes.

Goal

To help caregivers (paid or informal) with bathing and toileting tasks to allow people to live in their homes longer where we know they are happier and healthier and live longer. We will determine which tasks are associated with the greatest risk of injury so we can develop better techniques and tools for providing care.

Progress

Eight professional caregivers (personal support workers) were video-recorded as they simulated their usual techniques for providing bathing and toileting assistance to an actor who portrayed a typical home care client. The simulation took place in the bathroom of HomeLab, which is like a typical home bathroom.

Videos of each activity were analyzed to determine the caregiver’s upper-body postures and arm positions, leading to an estimate of how much stress there was on the caregiver’s lower back. To identify “best-case” techniques, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a caregiver met together to come up with the best technique they could for doing each task. We also plan to measure caregivers’ body kinematics in real patients’ homes using a wearable motion capture system.

Team

EmilyTilak, and Pam.

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