The following article is a guest post.
Hospitals, due to the very nature of their work, tend to have very high numbers of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses.
Unfortunately, the trend of work related injuries is steadily increasing in health care centres all over the world, as heath care staff members rush to take care of ever larger numbers of patients, even as work leads continue to increase day in day out. And when staff members are rendered medically unfit for duty, hospitals get even shorter staffed and the unfortunate result is a surge in such injuries, leading to an increasingly vicious cycle.
However, ‘safe patient handling programs’ can reduce injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), along with helping in controlling runaway infections as well.
As a matter of fact, research in Patient Handling ergonomics along with both occupational safety as well as hospital health care programs for medical care givers, has helped in clearly identifying the leading factors that are responsible for such injuries.
Such research has led to the development of training programs, along with multiple safety intervention SOPS (standard operating procedures), so as to help avoid any potential injuries during the handling of already gravely ill (or injured) patients.
Many hospital based surveys have consistently proven that safe patient handling techniques and training can help avert and reduce many different types of overexertion injuries, by replacing manual patient handling with methods geared towards increasing the safety of the patients.
Such training modules have been designed around the physical capabilities of the many workers employed by the health care system as a whole, with different techniques being taught to both males and females in line with their physical strength.
Moreover, such training is also bolstered by the widespread usage of advanced mechanical tools that help move and even lift especially heavy patients. This is necessary to ensure that care givers (employed in the medical field) are not forced to exert themselves beyond their abilities and increase the likelihood of being injured themselves.
A training technique known as ‘patient handling ergonomics’ seeks to maximize the safety and comfort of patients during handling.
As a matter of fact, it may take a considerable period of time to round up a team of colleagues to manually lift a patient, than to find and use lifting equipment that has been expressly designed for the purpose. It has been found that using mechanical devices to transfer patients takes fewer personnel and also saves a lot of time, a point that may be of great value for critically ill patients, for whom time is of the essence.
Here a key point to be noted – if the device is not the right one for the task, it will discourage overall equipment use throughout the hospital. This is why it is imperative to ensure that lift equipment is appropriate for the task at hand.
If possible, it would be ideal to let the caregivers themselves try out the equipment before purchase, and work closely with equipment vendors to meet a hospital’s demanding needs.