BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal disorders are common among home care workers, and the task of helping care recipients between wheelchair and toilet is described as particularly burdensome.
OBJECTIVES: This study’s objectives were to find out where exposure to risks is highest for overexertion injuries in the task of helping a care recipient move between wheelchair and toilet, and to suggest how the bathroom environment or assistive devices could be improved to decrease risk of injury.
METHODS: In a full-scale laboratory, home care workers helped persons move between wheelchair and toilet. The CUELA measurement system was used, combined with video observation, to record postures assumed during the task.
RESULTS: Maximum back inclination on average exceeded 40 degrees. This angle is, combined with rotation of the back and the weight of the care recipient, well over recommended limits for helping in the task. The knees were exposed to a particularly heavy load when the wheelchair was adjusted, taking off leg-rests.
CONCLUSIONS: Solutions should be developed which increase possibilities for the care recipient to participate and bear much of the load. Development of wheelchairs and other assistive devices should include usability aspects for the assisting care workers.