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An Emerging Issue for Workers Compensation—Aging Baby Boomers and a Growing Long-Term Care Industry (PDF)
The long-term care industry will be impacted substantially by the aging of the population. As described in the first section of this report, employment in certain subsectors of the long-term care industry is forecast to grow significantly faster than average over the next several years. This study will examine these industry trends, and in the second section it will explore injury characteristics for nursing home facilities, retirement living centers, and home healthcare services that together make up the long-term care industry.
This study's major findings are that total losses per worker for all three components of the long-term care industry are generally higher than average and that employment in two of the three components (retirement living centers and home healthcare services) is forecast to grow at a significantly above average pace. Since this is a growing industry with above average total losses per worker, it is important to understand more detailed characteristics of injuries in this industry:
- Frequency for all long-term care industries is above average. Average frequency from 1993–2005 at nursing home facilities and retirement living centers is more than double the average for private industry, while frequency for home healthcare services is 17% higher than average.
- Severity at nursing homes and retirement living centers is below average due to below average wages. Severity for home healthcare services is about average. Home healthcare severity is likely to be higher than severity at nursing homes and retirement living facilities due to a high share of more severe motor vehicle accidents.
- Back strains due to lifting are an even greater share of claims in long-term care than for all other industries.
- The long-term care industry also has a significant exposure to injuries due to assaults by patients. These types of assaults have been increasing.