ANA Leads Initiative to Develop National Safe Patient Handling Standards

American Nurse, September/October 2012 | Go to article overview

ANA Leads Initiative to Develop National Safe Patient Handling Standards


ERGONOMICS

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is leading a broad-based effort to develop national standards to guide hospitals and other health care facilities in their implementation of policies and equipment to safely lift and move patients and prevent injuries to health care workers.

ANA convened a panel of 26 specialists this summer with expertise in nursing, occupational and physical therapy, ergonomics, architecture, health care systems, and other disciplines to devise overarching standards for implementing safe patient handling programs and detailed guidelines for making them work effectively in practice. The Safe Patient Handling (SPH) National Standards Working Group plans to distribute the standards and guidelines to their professional memberships for comment in October, with publication and release set for spring 2013.

The panel is seeking to build a consensus of evidence-based best practices in safe patient handling that will apply to multiple health care professions and settings. The panel's goal is to develop language that can be incorporated nationwide into practices, policies, procedures, and regulations and become the basis for resource toolkits and certifications.

"It's long overdue to press for widespread adoption of safe patient handling programs to protect health care workers and patients," said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN. "Nurses can't wait any longer. Too many are suffering debilitating injuries that force them from the bedside. …

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