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Healthcare Workers Experiencing High Rates of Work-Related Injuries, According to New Ergotron Report

A new report from Ergotron highlights that as caregivers and healthcare IT (HIT) staff have dealt with longer shifts and increased patient loads due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are experiencing health issues related to ongoing stress and poor workplace ergonomics. Released today, “Caring for Healthcare Workers: How the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the well-being and vibrancy of caregivers and non-clinical staff,” reveals that 94% of healthcare employees reported a negative impact on their physical and/or mental well-being during the pandemic.

The survey of 500 caregivers and HIT professionals in the U.S. was conducted on behalf of Ergotron by research firm Vanson Bourne and uncovers the perception of their organizations’ COVID-19 response and their outlook on the work landscape going forward.

“Over the past two years, it’s become increasingly clear how vital it is to prioritize the physical health and mental well-being of caregivers and HIT staff,” said Chad Severson, CEO of Ergotron. “The burden placed on our healthcare workers during the pandemic cannot be understated, and finding ways for those employees to do their work safely and efficiently will be critical to retaining talent and providing effective patient care.”

Caring for Healthcare Workers includes a number of key insights for healthcare leaders as they look to prioritize their staff and put strategies in place to better support their needs. Additional findings include:

  • Clinicians and HIT workers don’t look forward to their workday. Less than a quarter of healthcare workers (22%) are excited to go to work, and this number drops to just 15% for caregivers.
  • Healthcare employees encounter high rates of workplace-related injury and worsening mental health. 42% of respondents report feeling physically exhausted and a quarter (25%) have more physical pain. Additionally, healthcare workers reported being more anxious (39%), burnt-out (36%) and depressed (29%).
  • Despite increased stress and uncertainty, caregivers and HIT teams experienced more connection to patients and co-workers. Over a third (35%) of respondents feel more connected to patients and co-workers, and 86% of caregivers feel valued by the patient population.
  • Lack of access to ergonomic tools contributed to workplace injuries and health problems. 43% of caregivers and 70% of HIT staff reported experiencing work-related injuries or health problems related to repetitive stress or poor workplace ergonomics.
  • To improve clinical and non-clinical staff’s workplace well-being, consider updating workstations. The majority of respondents (95%) stated that having better, more ergonomic and mobile equipment could improve their health and well-being.
  • Telehealth has helped clinicians feel safer and more productive but has also led to a more sedentary workday. 87% of caregiver respondents report that they are concerned about the physical impacts of using telehealth technology more frequently.

“The pandemic caused the widespread adoption of telehealth for caregivers and HIT employees alike, changing the workplace overnight,” said Maya Ram, clinical specialist at Ergotron. “While telehealth has provided new efficiencies for caregivers, it has also changed how they do their work. As a result, healthcare leaders need to ensure they address the physical impacts of the changing work landscape to maintain a healthy workforce.”