Taking the Burden Off Their Backs: Technology and Sensible Systems Greatly Reduce Risk of Injuries to Caregivers While Improving Patient Safety

Source: Taylor Lincoln, Public Citizen, June 16, 2015

From the press release:
A new Public Citizen report (PDF), “Taking the Burden Off Their Backs,” outlines a number of recommended technologies and policies to reduce injuries to nurses and other caregivers.

This report is the second in a five-part series, “Nursing: A Profession in Peril,” exploring the problem of injuries sustained by caregivers when they lift and reposition patients. Health care workers suffer more injuries – requiring time away from work – than those of any profession, according to the federal government, and many of these injuries result from handling patients. …

… Public Citizen’s latest report briefly describes several devices that assist in lifting, transferring and repositioning patients. These range from powered ceiling mounted or floor-based devices that are capable of elevating a patient’s entire body, to simpler solutions, such as reduced-friction sheets that enable turning or laterally transferring a patient much more easily than via conventional means.

Even if patient handling equipment is available, experts say that successful patient handling programs rely on numerous management-directed factors to succeed. Public Citizen’s report outlines several of these, including the need for written policies and committees governing patient handling practices, methods for employees to report concerns or incidents without fear of retribution, reliable systems to measure incidents and injuries, and the existence of policies that align physical stress demands on employees with their capacities…..
Nursing: A Profession in Peril
A Five-Part Series On Health Care Workers Injured On The Job

The first report in this series explores the real life challenges of nurses who suffer devastating injuries while moving and lifting patients. Subsequent pieces will concern technological and policy oriented approaches to minimize injuries; a discussion of safe-patient handling laws that have been passed in the states; an examination of the economic benefits realized by hospitals that have implemented safe-patient handling programs; and an assessment of the prevalence of implementation of recommended safe-patient handling practices across the national health care system.

Part One: The Health Care Industry’s Castoffs
Nurses Injured at Work Often Find Themselves Out of Work and Suffering From Chronic Pain
June 9, 2015 — As Public Citizen reported in 2013, more health care workers are forced off the job due to injury than workers in any other profession. But how serious are these injuries in the long run? This Public Citizen report documents the nature and repercussion of injuries suffered by six nurses. All six were forced out of their job due to their injuries and report suffering from chronic pain.
Read the Press Release
Read the Report