Magazine article American Nurse Today

Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: The Journey Continues

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: The Journey Continues

Article excerpt

Hazards associated with manual patient handling continue to compromise the health and safety of nurses. Among nurses who responded to the American Nurses Association's (ANA's) Health Risk Appraisal:

* 42% believe they are at risk at work from lifting or repositioning patients

* 13% have had a debilitating musculoskeletal injury

* 75% have access to safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) technology, but only half use it consistently.

We must take a closer look at this problem and ask critical questions: Why do only half of the nurses who could use SPHM technology actually use it? Is the equipment relatively inaccessible? Is it heavy or difficult to use? Is enough SPHM technology available to meet patients' needs? Have nursing staff received the education they need to use it properly?

But even if every nurse had access to SPHM technology, equipment alone isn't the answer. Comprehensive SPHM programs are necessary to eliminate manual patient handling. ANA's Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards and the corresponding implementation guide provide a frame-work for developing effective and sustainable SPHM programs. Important program elements include:

* maintaining a commitment to a culture of safety

* choosing appropriate SPHM technology

* ensuring SPHM technology is accessible

* conducting ongoing training to maintain competency

* conducting ongoing program evaluation and remediation. …

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