Have you ever lifted or moved a patient to feel that awful familiar twinge in your back, knowing you’d hurt it yet again? Sometimes, despite extensive training and proper lifting techniques, manual-handling injuries can occur.
Injuries sustained when moving or lifting patients is a major issue and the most common cause of injuries for people working in health, aged care, rehabilitation, and disability services. From nurses, carers, cleaners, laundry, and maintenance workers, to administration and kitchen staff, all have been injured during manual handling of patients.
Manual handling injuries can be the result of lots of stresses and strains over time and often the immediate cause is only part of the picture. For workers, this can mean personal pain and discomfort, which sometimes lasts for years, affecting most aspects of their lives and well being.
Manual handling can be defined as any activity that requires the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or move, hold or restrain any object or person. Hazardous manual handling can include repetitive or sustained awkward posture or movement, and manual handling of loads that are unstable, unbalanced or difficult to grasp and hold.
Health, aged care, and rehabilitation workers are taught that prior to moving or lifting a patient, the impending lift and surrounding environment need to be assessed to ensure that all risks are minimised for both the patient and caregiver. Factors like adjusting the bed to the correct height and avoiding twisting or rotating one’s spine, are simple and important considerations.
Even with proper lifting procedures being put into effect, and employers implementing preventative measures to ensure their employees be given the highest level of protection, injuries do occur. Training has come a long way but training alone is not effective in reducing injuries and there is no evidence that devices like back braces and belts reduce injury risks in caregivers.
So what are the alternatives?
Mechanical lifting aids and other equipment that assist staff in the moving, transferring, mobilisation, and handling of patients and clients, ensure that minimal force or exertion is experienced by workers whilst guaranteeing patient safety. Mechanical aids can assist with transfers onto or out of bed, from a chair to a bed, and sitting to standing.
According to the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation Safe Patient Handling Policy, “The provision of ceiling hoist technology and air assisted patient lifting devices should be considered as the first line handling aid by employers as significant evidence exists that their use reduces operator and patient injuries.”
Do you know that Invacare can help you choose the right lifter for whatever application you need? Take a look at our range of reasonably priced lifters and slings, designed to help you and your patients stay safe. Here is just a sample of the wide range we provide:
The Invacare Jasmine Mobile Lift is a flexible solution that offers high comfort for all clients. The lift covers all needs, providing safe patient handling with up to 200kg weight capacity.
The Invacare Roze Standup Lifter is compact and manoeuvrable and provides an easy, safe and comfortable assisted transfer for patients in care or those with rehabilitation needs.
The Invacare Standup Slings are designed to lift the patient comfortably from a seated position into a relaxed upright position.
The sling provides ultimate support and security for lifting from a bed or the floor.
For more information, head to the Invacare website: https://www.invacare.com.au/care/lifters-and-slings