Safe Patient Handling for Health Care Professionals
As a health care professional working with the elderly and/or disabled, you are very aware of the problems inherent in lifting patients. At the Safe Patient Handling Conference held in San Diego in September, 2010 and again in 2011, this important subject was brought into focus. Opening comments at the 2010 conference stated that 50% of RNs are impacted by low back pain and 12.5% leave their career due to a back pain condition. Yet a nurse will typically lift nearly 2 tons of weight over an 8 hour shift.
Research indicates there is no safe way to lift a patient manually. Lifting techniques such as the 1-person hug, 2-person hook-and-toss, and 2-person lift with gait belt, all exceed safe tolerances of vertebral endplates. Years of patient lifting and handling results in micro-fractures at the vertebral endplates, scar formation, and eventual deterioration of vertebral discs.
Further musculo-skeletal injuries have been a recognized problem in the health care industry for decades. Manual patient handling can easily exceed the muscle strength and tissue tolerance limits for caregivers, and there is no safe way to manually lift a fully dependent patient, even with 2 caregivers.
For these compelling reasons, the American Physical Therapy Association, American Nursing Association, Veterans Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and American Association for Long Term Care have all endorsed a Minimal Patient Lift philosophy.
So, how can caregivers assist their patients while avoiding injuries to themselves – here are some fall prevention strategies, and a fall prevention program. Proper use of patient handling equipment or devices, regular ergonomic assessments, and employing lift teams (in conjunction with equipment use) are all practices which can prevent injury. The ResQUp offers the advantage of being affordable, practical, and cost-effective in the clinical setting.
For the professional caregiver, the ResQUp is the logical choice for the clinic, assisted care facility, or hospital ward to complement other up-from-the-floor devices. And the ResQUp may help restore your patient’s confidence so that they can keep active during their physical therapy and recovery program.
However, the ResQUp should never be used if the patient has been injured in the act of an elderly fall. Therapists and caregivers should carefully familiarize themselves with Instructions for Use before using the ResQUp. These instructions are provided in the Package Information Insert and DVD instructional video that is provided in the packaging that came with the ResQUp.