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Home care services -- United States, Industrial safety


Background: Home care workers are a high-risk group for injury and illness. Their unique work structure presents challenges to delivering a program to enhance their health and safety. No randomized controlled trials have assessed the impact of a Total Worker Health™ program designed for their needs.

Methods/design: The COMPASS (COMmunity of Practice And Safety Support) study is a cluster randomized trial being implemented among Oregon’s unionized home care workers. Partnering with the Oregon Home Care Commission allowed recruiting 10 pairs of home care worker groups with 8 participants per group (n = 160) for balanced randomization of groups to intervention and control conditions. Physiologic and survey evaluation of all participants will be at enrollment, 6 months and 12 months. Primary outcomes are to increase health promoting (for example, healthy nutrition and regular physical activity) and health protecting (that is, safety) behaviors. In addition to assessing outcomes adjusted for the hierarchical design, mediation analyses will be used to deconstruct and confirm the program’s theoretical underpinnings and intervention processes. Intervention groups will participate in a series of monthly 2-hour meetings designed as ritualized, scripted peer-led sessions to increase knowledge, practice skills and build support for healthy actions. Self-monitoring and individual and team level goals are included to augment change. Because generalizability, reach and achieving dissemination are priorities, following initial wave findings, a second wave of COMPASS groups will be recruited and enrolled with tailoring of the program to align with existing Home Care Commission educational offerings. Outcomes, process and mediation of those tailored groups will be compared with the original wave’s findings.

Discussion: The COMPASS trial will assess a novel program to enhance the safety and health of a vulnerable, rapidly expanding group of isolated caregivers, whose critical work allows independent living of frail seniors and the disabled.


© 2014 Olson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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