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Resources for Safe Patient Handling

Because your health is an important factor in the quality of care you as a caregiver provide to patients, it is vital that you follow the proper techniques when handling the patients assigned to your care. Participating in a variety of professional development opportunities is an excellent way to keep current with the procedures that protect your back and muscles. Using poor handling procedures results in injury and lost work days; your health and safety is directly related to how you lift and move patients from place to place.

Use a Checklist to Evaluate Your Program

Using a checklist to evaluate the components of the program under which you work is an excellent beginning when you want to determine the efficiency of the policies that have been developed for healthcare professionals. A good checklist will include examination of policy development, review of staff and management involvement, a needs assessment, inspection and evaluation of equipment that is used, a review of training and education opportunities, and a program evaluation that tracks the success of all components. Did you know that there could be a possibility of lifting 1.8 tons during one of your eight hour shifts?

Check Available Coursework

Another excellent resource is the American Physical Therapy Association website. Here you can learn about the role in safe handling of patients that physical therapy plays. There is also a list of available coursework that can introduce you to guidelines for proper lifting techniques, guidance in the movement of patients, and some of the current initiatives that are being developed for national standards for patient handling.

CDC Standards

The Center for Disease Control website features not only articles on safe patient handling but also a list of links that provide additional information for you to review as you learn better and safer lifting and movement techniques. On this page you can learn when it’s safe to manually lift patients, information about lifting equations, and the ergonomics of lifting patients safely. This website also contains links to legislation covering patient handling, blogs that provide you with best practices, and articles about the hazards you’ll face when handling patients.

Standards that Impact Your Job

The American Nurses Association website is an excellent resource that explains the new evidence-based standards that you can use for handling your patients safely and securely. The eight standards discuss the safely culture in the workplace, the importance of a mobility and handling program, and implementing technology that adds an element of safety to your job. Having a comprehensive system for evaluation is one of the eight standards that the ANA feels is imperative to safe patient handling.

Just the Facts

To learn more about common tasks which lead to injuries, a timely brochure provided by the American Nurses Association is an important tool as you learn more about how injuries impact your health and job. One of the most interesting sections is how myths and realities compare factually. Packed with interesting information, this brochure covers national standards, the value of excellent training, and the value of safe patient handling and mobility procedures.

Knowledge is power and when patients depend upon you for quality care it’s best to learn as much as you can and remain current on innovative techniques.

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