Protecting Our Healthcare Workers From Body Stressing Injuries
Author: Nicholas Sutedja Date Posted:10 February 2018
Healthcare professionals often incur musculoskeletal injuries from body stress or overexertion.
In Safe Work Australia’s 2016 report, over 66,000 claims were filed by community and personal service workers for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) from 2009-10 and 2013-14. Over 30% of the claims from this category came from personal carers and assistants and almost 20% came from health and welfare support workers.
Among one of the greatest risk factors for body stressing injuries is the manual lifting of patients, residents or clients. Despite following the best practices for manually lifting a patient, the repetitive action of carrying a person who may not have full control of their body can cause body stressing injuries.
Body mechanics is not enough; a comprehensive patient handling program must be in place.
CREATING A HEALTHCARE FACILITY THAT’S SAFE FOR PATIENTS AND STAFF
A patient lifting program must include mechanical lifting equipment, staff training on equipment use, and a written lifting policy. Having a safe patient lifting program benefits patients, staff and even employers.
Patients are less likely to in sustain skin tears and bruises and enjoy more dignified transfers as well as improved care, safety and comfort.
Staff members are less likely to incur injury or fatigue and can continue working to an older age. This can also contribute to a boost in morale and job satisfaction.
For employers, the benefits include improved patient and staff safety and reduced lost days, compensation costs and risk of liability.
Naturally, implementation will cost employers but numerous cost-benefit analyses demonstrate that the investment in equipment and employee training can be recovered through reductions in workers’ compensation.
THE EFFECTIVITY OF PATIENT LIFT SYSTEMS IN PREVENTING INJURIES TO HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
There are many studies that test the effectivity of patient lift systems in preventing injuries to healthcare professionals. In a longitudinal study involving 5,900 hospital employees, patient lift systems introduced to the workplace contributed to a 60% reduction in patient handling injuries, 97% reduction in workers’ compensation and 91% reduction in lost workdays.
KEY PATIENT LIFTING EQUIPMENT AND TIPS ON USE
There are numerous patient lifting hoists for sale on the market. Some of the most commonly used are standing hoists, floor hoists and ceiling hoists.
Standing hoists assist patients from a sitting to standing position and vice versa. Both manual and battery-powered hoists are appropriate for partial weight-bearing patients but the manual ones are ideal for patients undergoing rehabilitation therapy and those who have some upper body strength. When using a stand assist, at least one staff member must be present.
Floor hoists are ideal for patients who are non-weight bearing, partially weight-bearing, physically disabled or have developmental limitations. These hoists can be used for transfers to beds, chairs, toilets, baths and more. Use of floor hoists may require two or more caregivers. It is ideal to have multiple slings to reduce the number of times staff members have to lift or position patients.
Ceiling hoists are attached to the ceiling with a gantry system, allowing the hoist to be moved with a ceiling track. These are ideal for disabled patients and bariatric patients.
PROVIDING INTELLIGENT MOBILITY SOLUTIONS
With our mission to restore mobility to as many fellow Australians as possible, we support our nation’s health care providers in helping patients be comfortable, happy and independent. We provide a wide range of lifting hoists and accessories, including disability slings.
For quality lifting hoists from the world’s trusted names, contact us today.