CSU researchers aim to end thousands of workers' compensation claims coming from nursing homes

Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 17:41:09-04

More than $1 billion has already been spent this year on workers’ compensation claims in Ohio. But, at Cleveland State University, researchers are using video game technology to reduce that.

Nursing home and personal care facilities have four times the number of workplace injuries than any other private industry. That’s more than mining, construction and manufacturing.

“It’s hard work and it’s work that forces you to be in some positions that aren’t ideal,” said Debbie Espy, an Associate Professor and Cleveland State Health Sciences Researcher.

Picking up patients and wheelchairs, stretching across a hospital bed and moving in weird ways, makes being a nurse’s aide a difficult and dangerous job.

Every year in Ohio, hundreds of workers’ compensation claims are filed and millions of dollars are paid on behalf of nursing home aides.

With the help of a quarter-million dollar grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Cleveland State Health Science researchers are working with Northeast Ohio nursing home employees to teach them how they’re moving the wrong way during their day.

“We were just looking at them doing exercises and they would do exercises and it would show what the Kinect camera was picking up and it would give them a little feedback about move a little further this way, don’t move this, if you’re bringing your arm up, keep it straight to your side,” said Espy.

Researchers are using Kinect, the Xbox equivalent of the Nintendo Wii. They installed the gaming technology in patient rooms and strapped monitors on nursing home employees that would beep when they would move the wrong way.

“It’s both the training, so if you’re learning a sport and somebody’s giving you feedback, you’re going to learn those sports motions better than if somebody just says here’s how you do it, now go practice by yourself,” said Espy.