When state-tested nursing assistants (STNA) work with residents in care settings for older adults, they aim to help the individuals they serve in physically demanding ways such as repositioning the resident in bed, or moving him or her from the bed to a wheelchair. But there are risks they take with the job that may result in injuries, many of which are preventable. A team of CSU faculty in the Occupational and Physical Therapy Programs, along with faculty from the Washkewicz College of Engineering and the School of Nursing, are working with community partners like Jennings to develop a device that will alert STNAs to potential injury-inducing behaviors.
“This device would be worn by the STNA and monitored by an Microsoft® Kinect gaming device positioned somewhere at the site,” said Occupational Therapy Professor Dr. Glenn Goodman. “For example, when STNAs help a resident stand or walk, they may be outweighed by the patient and could injure themselves in trying to assist the patient. The device will alert the STNA that the movement is out of the scope of a ‘safe movement.’ Safe movement training aims to give guidance to STNAs about how to serve their clients without injury to themselves or the resident.”
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with CSU on this project,” said Colleen Lavelle, Chief Planning Officer at Jennings. “The feedback we receive from the evaluation of our existing safe movement program will help us continue to extend the careers of our nursing staff over time. The expected program enhancements that will result from our partnership with CSU will help us and others provide innovative mobility solutions in nursing homes and other care settings.”
The project is being completed in two phases. The first phase allows for research, such as working with STNAs to determine the effectiveness of current safe movement training and the development of plans for a device to monitor STNA movements on site. In phase two, STNAs will wear the device on site while working with residents. This will result in data that will be useful for improving future STNA training. The intended outcome of this partnership is to increase injury prevention awareness and decrease the number of injuries sustained by STNAs on the job. Goodman said he hopes the device and training will be made available to STNAs nationwide.
Cleveland State is working with Jennings Center for Older Adults for this project. The project is funded by the Bureau of Workers Compensation.
Benefit to Community:
STNAs are all too often put into situations where the risk of injury is high. While there are currently excellent safe movement policies in place, one objective of this project is to evaluate and improve current procedures and equipment so senior residents of the community will be more effectively served and work safety will be improved. As a result of the training and software, the participants will hopefully receive valuable information that will result in fewer injuries and improved policies and procedures for safe movement of residents in care settings for older adults.
More information about this is available on Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Engagement Project site.