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Safe Patient Handling Essay

1351 words - 5 pages

The purpose of this study was to investigate the variety of programs, policies, and practices used in safe patient handling and determine if there is a best practice in the field of occupational therapy. However, if there is a claim made, the validity must also be confirmed. Although there are various ways to address and provide safe patient handling as noted in the research, and some methods are used more often than others, strategies to prevent or minimize injuries associated with patient handling are often based more on tradition and personal experience rather than evidenced based. Some of the most common patient handling approaches in the United States includes manual patient lifting, classes in body mechanics, training in safe lifting techniques, and back belts. Surprisingly there is strong evidence that each of these approaches is not effective in reducing caregiver injuries. A safe patient handling policy shows to be the best way of keeping the practitioner and patient safe in the facility.

What is safe patient handling? “Strategies to prevent or minimize work-related musculoskeletal injuries associated with patient handling are often based on tradition and personal experience rather than scientific evidence” (Nelson & S., Evidence-Based Practices for Safe Patient Handling and Movement, 2006). “Patient handling and movement tasks are physically demanding, performed under unfavorable conditions, and are often unpredictable in nature” (Nelson & S., Evidence-Based Practices for Safe Patient Handling and Movement, 2006). What is a musculoskeletal disorder? “Musculoskeletal disorders are caused by constant stress to the body, often from the work environment” (Slusser, Rice, & Miller, 2012). What steps should be taken to implement a safe patient handling policy? Certain elements should be in place and the policy should include specific goals, roles of staff, and classification of patients (Nelson, Collins, Knibbe, Cookson, Castro, & Whipple, 2007). Safe patient policies are necessary in reducing musculoskeletal injuries for practitioner as well as client’s safety, and should provide a framework for patient handling practice in the workplace.
Safe patient handling policies have been documented as the most effective in reducing musculoskeletal injuries to practitioners (Nelson & S., Evidence-Based Practices for Safe Patient Handling and Movement, 2006). “A safe patient handling policy (also referred to as “no-lift,” “zero-lift,” “minimal lift,” “no manual lift,” or “lift-free”) is one part of a comprehensive approach to preventing musculoskeletal injuries to healthcare workers” (Nelson, Collins, Knibbe, Cookson, Castro, & Whipple, 2007). According to Nelson, et al, (2007) it is believed by some healthcare employees that this policy implies a patient should never be lifted. She also states that others feel that patients should only be manually lifted in emergencies. Another interpretation of others stated by Nelson, et al, (2007)...

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