Strategies to Improve Patient and Healthcare Provider Safety in Patient Handling and Movement Tasks
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Over the past few decades, there has been growing concern over the increasing number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries associated with patient handling tasks, especially in nursing personnel. This concern has led to reports recommending patient handling technologies be used in place of traditional manual lifting (Panel on Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Workplace; Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council; and Institute of Medicine, 2001; U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2002). These recommendations have triggered debate between physical therapists and rehabilitation nurses. On the one hand, with the nursing shortage and high rates of injuries among nursing personnel, the recommendations are viewed as a necessary safety measure. On the other hand, overuse of mechanical lifting devices could affect patient functional status and independence. This paradox has triggered debate and has hindered efforts to promote safe patient handling and movement in rehabilitation settings.
In order to address these concerns, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) convened a national task force consisting of representatives from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the VHA. The purpose of this task force was to develop a position paper balancing the needs of all three organizations into a workable solution. Our goal was to find a way to effectively incorporate the most recent evidence on safe patient handling and movement into rehabilitation settings.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Musculoskeletal Injuries, Patient Handling Tasks, Patient Handling Technologies, Physical Therapists, Rehabilitation Settings
Nelson, Audrey; Tracey, Catherine A.; Harwood, Kenneth J.; Rockefeller, Kathleen; Joffe, Miriam; Baxter, Marian L.; Nathenson, Paul; Whipple, Kevan; Rosario, Mary; and Le, Hoang, "Strategies to Improve Patient and Healthcare Provider Safety in Patient Handling and Movement Tasks" (2005). Department of Physical Therapy Faculty Articles. 34.