Back injuries & assistive devices!

  1. OK, Allnurses, I need help again to advocate for my peers. I've had numerous complaints from staff members about back pain and injuries. We are an older, financially challenged hospital and it is TOO common to see nurses shoving an entire bed down a carpeted hall to take a patient for a test, or else propelling the poor dear in a wheelchair with no legs (WHO takes these legs? Is there an alternative use for wheelchair legs that I am unaware of??? )
    Anyway, I've just heard that in Canada and the UK, our progressive collgeagues have completely outlawed lifting and transfers unassisted by mechanical devices. I've also heard that in Washington State a similar initiative is in congress (if anyone can provide me with a Bill #, I'd be VERY grateful).
    If you work with devices such as the completely refitted rooms with transfer equipment, how do they work? I can blow an inch of dust off of our ancient Hoyer lift any day of the week, so I know that "having" isn't always equal to "using" if a devices isn't trusted or liked by staff. So those of you who are lucky (?) enough to have this equipment available, do you really use it, and is it really helpful? Do you feel that back injuries have decreased? Is it more effective than the transfer stretcher-chairs? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!! JeannieM :kiss
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    Boy I know what you mean. In FL the CNA's in LTC have it even rougher with beds that are on the floor. And no, they don't come up to a working height.
    It sure didn't help my back to have an Alsheimer's resident that would fight you tooth and nail to get changed/dressed, and then have to lift that person from off the floor into a w/c.
    Also I sure wish Medicare/Medicaid would get over this thing they have about transfer boards being "more help to the caregiver than the patient" --they are real backsavers, produce an effective transfer, but I never see them used in LTC.
  4. by   teeituptom
    Howdy Yall
    from deep in the heart of texas

    For back injuries or any injurie, I highly recommend magnets, They do help.....
  5. by   darius000
    Hi JeanieM
    Many hospitals in Australia either have no lift policies or are moving toward them. It is very common to see things like slip or slide sheets in use. These are a shiney material that can be placed under the patient by rolling them. Once in position, the patient can be slid up, down or across the bed with ease. Slide boards are also very effective.

    I am assuming that the "Hoyer" that you mention is a hoist that involves placing the patient in a sling and then winding handles and pushing and shoving to get them into bed or a chair.

    The newer electric versions are in use in some places here. They come with a large range of slings to suit patient size, and some can even have a frame or stretcher type attachment if a patient needs to remain flat.

    I am totally ignorant when it comes to your occupational health and safety laws, and things like the cost of staff on sick leave because of work related back injuries.

    But somehow you and your colleagues need to convince the management that investment in lifting devices will eventuallt save them money.

    The other challenge will be to convince the staff to change their practices. I am often confronted with the saying "but it has always been done that way". That just adds fuel to my fire and makes me even more determined to push ahead with new ideas and practices
    good luck
    Patrick
  6. by   moonshadeau
    We finally got assistive lift devices but then hardly ever used them. (I used them when needed). But they truly came in high demand when multiple people injured themselves on patients they shouldn't have if they had used the lifts. We have an electronic hoyer that weighs patients and a sit and stand that is the greatest thing for those who can bear some weight but pull on your back.

    The only thing about the hoyer, if someone who needs to be hoyered is on the floor, it doesn't work so well.

    I saw a really cool hover device used to pull a patient up or transfer from bed to bed at convention. It looks like a large air mattress that two people can pull on with ease. So cool.


    Basically, if money the only thing that management thinks about, it is far cheaper to invest in such assistive devices rather than pay workman's comp and other issues.
  7. by   night owl
    In my LTC facility, we use assistive devices all of the time! they really help save the back...really. Especially when a 250 pounder falls on the floor and can't get up!!! The hoyer worked well for him...thank the dear Lord...
  8. by   h2ogoddess
    WHere I work, lots of low beds are used or a fall mat if the pt. is at risk for falling, great for the pt. but as someone else said, hard on the staff when doing care, if it doesn't rise I guess you have to get on your hands and knees to do care!
    We also have beds that do not rise high enough to transfer from bed to litters (3-5 inch or more difference in height) and you are supposed to lift these people with a sheet !! Sorry I"m not putting myself at risk anymore, no equiment, no transfer!!!!
  9. by   night owl
    why is it that some administration just do not want to make our jobs easier? money??? if they had to get people oob from a low position you bet they'd have those electric low-beds no matter what they cost!!! you should all ban together and demand the electric low-beds! employee abuse? i would think so...
  10. by   Tookie
    As mentioned we do have some states that are very progressive and through our union and the state government togetehr they are intoducing a No lift Policy - particularly in Vic - Havent got the right web site for you - will try and find info when l next go to work unless the dementia kicks in - any way - suggest you try the
    Australian Nursing federation they may have a link on their site
  11. by   JeannieM
    Sorry to bring this thread to the front, but just got back from vacation and wanted to thank everyone who responded. You've really been helpful, and I hope we'll soon be able to provide improved back safety equipment for the nurses at my facility. :kiss JeannieM
  12. by   donmurray
    Check the OSHA (?sp) regs. and a good tack to take is to highlight the cost of not providing devices, eg. staff sickness, agency replacements, workers comp, litigation, etc. etc. The cost of one major injury (leaving aside the pain & distress to the victim) could be enough to equip every department/floor.

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