Do you know which industry has the highest rate of overexertion and back injuries? Healthcare workers have twice the rate of other industries, which often result when transferring patients, repositioning them, and assisting them with activities of daily living (also known as ADL). It is important your healthcare workers use techniques that help reduce the risk of these injuries. Those include the use of lift-assist equipment, proper patient handling procedures, and good body mechanics.

Assistive devices and proper lifting

Many assistive devices are available that make it easier to lift and move a patient. Placing gait belts around a patient’s waist, over their clothing for example, give the caregiver something to grasp when transferring a patient or helping them walk.

Other assistive devices include:

  • Mechanical lifts
  • Multi-purpose beds
  • Low-friction sheets
  • Slider boards
  • Trapeze bars
  • Transfer poles

Each of these devices not only makes the handling process easier, but also help reduce the risk of injury to patients and their caregivers.

Training on lift equipment, policies, and techniques

Classroom and practical training helps ensure that healthcare workers know how to lift and handle patients properly. When it comes to lifting devices, some hospitals report that workers do not use them due to set-up times. These devices should be used whenever possible to reduce worker-lifting requirements.

Workers also need to be trained on the patient lifting policy for their worksite. Some employers set a “no-lift” policy for their staff, with the exception of dedicated teams of employees with special training and equipment who are then responsible for the patient handling and lifting. Other sites may have a “no one-person lift” policy requiring workers to get assistance before moving a patient.