Continuous work under environmental and thermal discomfort such as cold, heat, and dim light has the potential to affect the health of nurses and healthcare assistants working in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF). The resulting health issues to workers from exposure to thermal discomfort include fatigue, concentration difficulty and work-related diseases such as cold and muscle tensions. Consequently, this often leads to higher labour absenteeism due to sick-leave which in turn correlates to poor nursing care quality for residents. This research investigated environmental factors which are temperature, humidity, noise, and lighting in nurse offices and resident lounges in RACFs in New Zealand and compared them with international standards.
Quantitative study approach.
Seventeen Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) participated in this study, which were categorised in stand-alone (S-RACF), chain (C-RACF), and religious and charitable (RC-RACF) providers. The environmental measurements were conducted for 24 hours in the nurse offices and 12 hours in resident lounges.
The findings demonstrated that the environmental factors, noise and humidity level met international standards predominately, but temperature and lighting levels failed to comply in nursing offices and resident lounges in RACF.
These findings indicate that nurses and healthcare assistants are working in environmental conditions that partially impedes the health and safety of nursing staff, and could affect their nursing care performance adversely for residents in RACF.[:]