Community of Practice and Safety Support (COMPASS)
Creating Health & Safety "Communities of Practice" for Home Care Workers
The Community of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS) program is a peer-led social support group intervention designed to improve social resources, reduce the risk of injuries and promote health among caregivers.
Home Care Worker Population
- Job duties include assisting the elderly and disabled with self-care and mobility in private homes
- Typically working for low wages
- Predominantly female and older than 40
- Have an injury rate that is nearly four times higher than the US average
- Are at elevated risk for mental and physical health problems
- Increase experienced community of practice
- Improve physical and psychological well-being
- Reduce hazards in homes and improve safety and health behaviors
- COMPASS has been found to improve home care workers' safety and health knowledge as well as their experienced community of practice (i.e., professional social network)
- The program also produces simultaneous improvements in both safety and health behaviors, including the use of ergonomic tools.
- Home care workers are a vulnerable population with a very limited support structure. The COMPASS program is a highly repeatable resource that provides them support and education resources that were previously unavailable to them. The long term desired impact is to improve health and reduce injuries in the US population of home care workers.
What participants are saying about COMPASS:"I think anybody new coming into this field should have to take the COMPASS class. If you are brand new… you should have to take this class, because it will help exponentially"
"I think I've made several changes [because of] the COMPASS program. Awareness was definitely one of those. I think of myself personally as a caregiver - I may focus on my consumer employer's needs more than my own needs, and so it really did bring an awareness that if my needs, you know my health…my mental health and everything, if I'm balanced, then I feel that I'm a better caregiver"
"I thought it was amazing to be able to learn and share and get information from other people and help them when they need it, and they help me. I just thought it was great."
Funding for COMPASS was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH; grant: U19OH010154).
- Olson, R., Thompson, S., Elliot, D.L., Hess, J.A., Luther Rhoten, K., Parker, K.N., Wright, R.R., Wipfli, B., Bettencourt, K.M., Buckmaster, A., & Marino, M. (2016). Safety and health support for home care workers: The COMPASS randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Public Health, 106 (10), 1823-1832.
- Olson, R., Wright, R.R., Elliot, D., Hess, J., Thompson, S. Buckmaster, K, & Wipfli, B. (2015). The COMPASS pilot study: A Total Worker Health intervention for home care workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57(4), 406-416.
- Olson, R., Elliot, D., Hess, J., Thompson, S., Luther, K., Wipfli, B., & Buckmaster, A.M. (2014). The COMmunity of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS) Total Worker Health study among home care workers: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 15: 411, 1-13.