Safe patient handling — protecting staff and patients

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What’s hurting the nursing profession?

The manual transferring and repositioning of patients is leading to a high incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among nursing professionals. Injuries range from chronic back and neck pain to career-ending disabilities.1 According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the maximum acceptable weight for manual lifting is 35 lbs., the average weight of a 4-year-old child! And, even at that weight, there is still a risk of injury.2,3

NIOSH recommends eliminating manual lifting altogether, whenever possible2, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a list of guidelines to promote safe patient handling with an emphasis on the use of assistive equipment to ease the physical strain on caregivers.4

Reducing the risk of injury with assistive equipment

The use of assistive equipment has been proven to help reduce the risk of MSDs in nursing and other healthcare professionals, as well as help patients feel more comfortable and secure.5,6 With a comprehensive selection of transfer and lifting devices, AliMed can help equip your facility with the tools necessary to help prevent staff injuries, increase compliance, and reduce transfer time.

  • Lateral Shifters and Transfer Boards can be easily stored within reach, increasing compliance while reducing injuries. Devices like AliMed Soft Rollboards with conveyor-belt mechanics help lower peak force on the shoulders and back7 and are offered in a variety of widths, lengths, and antimicrobial options to support any facility or patient need.
  • Disposable and Reusable Slings and Electric Lifts eliminate the strain of manual lifting while requiring fewer personnel and less time to operate.8
  • "No-Lift" Boosters and Turners with frictionless fabric allow lateral motion without lifting to ease back pain and reduce force when positioning or boosting patients in bed.
  • Gait Belts, including infection control options to reduce cross-contamination, safely assist patients during ambulation.
  • A full line of Transfer Handles, Specialty Transfer Aids, and other mobility aids promote patient independence while reducing strain on staff.

OSHA resources for developing a safe patient handling program

Along with the use of assistive equipment, a facility-wide safety program can greatly reduce the risk of MSDs while improving patient care and your bottom line. OSHA offers a variety of resources to help you develop and/or maintain a safe patient handling protocol.

Take the OSHA self-assessment. If you already have a protocol in place, use the OSHA self-assessment tool to identify your program’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.

No protocol? No problem. If you don’t have a protocol, OSHA’s range of development and management tools can help you get started.

Resources

  1. http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/SafePatient
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/safepatient/
  3. http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-childs-size-and-growth-timeline_10357633.bc
  4. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/patient_handling.html
  5. http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/10/4/212.long
  6. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/documents/3.1_Mythbusters_508.pdf
  7. http://www.alimed.com/_resources/common/userfiles/file/Sell Sheets/AliMed-Transfer-Device-Study.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16465105

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