The Need and Application of Safe Patient Handling Programs

Nancy L. Hughes, MS, RN, and Joan Warren, PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC

 

Overview:

Despite the recognition that manual patient handling is a high-hazard task, few health care organizations in the United States (U.S.) today have adequate equipment, designed specifically to lift and move patients, or safe patient handling programs including ergonomic training and leadership support to meet the needs of nurses and other health care personnel who repetitively lift and moving patients.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants reported the highest numbers of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) requiring days away from work in 2009 (BLS, 2009). This group was ranked first on the top ten list of occupations in the U.S. reporting the highest numbers of WMSD’s requiring days away from work. Registered nurses were ranked sixth on this top ten list of selected occupations (BLS. In 2009).

In 2009, over 46,000 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse’s aides, orderlies, attendants, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, home health aides and personal care aides reported WMSDs injuries (BLS, 2009). More than one-third of back injuries among nurses have been associated with the handling of patients and the frequency with which nurses are required to move them. It is estimated that the cost to the nation in 2008 was 7.4 billion dollars in direct and indirect costs for worker’s compensation claims, medical bills, and staff replacements for health care workers (U.S. Senate, 2010; UMass, 2011). Injured nurses constitute about one-fourth of all claims and one-third of total compensation costs.

This multimedia presentation addresses the need for safe patient handling programs to eliminate the musculoskeletal injuries being sustained by registered nurse and other healthcare workers and provide a success story on how a safe patient handling program was implemented.

Purpose/Goal: To provide an overview of the need for safe patient handling programs to eliminate the musculoskeletal injuries being sustained by registered nurse and other healthcare workers and provide a success story on how a safe patient handling program was implemented.


Objectives:

1. Describe the problem of musculoskeletal injuries.
2. Discuss the theory and principles of safe patient handling.
3. Provide a review of the American Nurses Association’s Handle with Care® initiative.
4. Describe innovative methods to implement a safe patient handling and movement program.
5. Identify outcomes data to garner support for a safe patient handling and movement program.


Author:

Nancy L. Hughes, MS, RN, is Director, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at American Nurses Association. Joan Warren, PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC, is Director, Professional Practice and Research at Franklin Square Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

The author(s) and planners of this continuing nursing education activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.


Contact Hours: 1

Expiration Date: 12/31/2014

 

Member Price: $25.00
Non-Member Price: $55.00

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