Hospitals in Va examine ways to protect Nurses Backs

  1. I came across this article. For a long time working in LTC, Nurses and CNA's suffer back injuries on a routine basis. I have utilized complex lifting equipment both motorized and manual, alot of times the logistics of getting the equipment (usually one per facility) and/ or the fact that "2 man lifts" are required by policy (when you are short staffed you don't have enough personnel), makes it extremely difficult to get the job done. Most just do it themselves risking injury. Just wanted to get your ideas and comments. Thanx
    Michele

    Experts, hospitals examine ways to protect nurses' backs
    By LIZ SZABO, The Virginian-Pilot
    June 13, 2001

    Nurses perform a demanding job. They often help a person to the restroom or lift someone to change bedding, tasks made more difficult because many patients are disabled and others are much larger and heavier than their nurses.

    Studies show that up to 80 percent of nurses suffer back pain during their careers. They file more worker's compensation claims than other professionals, and their injuries have been estimated to cost $16 billion dollars a year. The cost to employers in lost productivity, employee turnover and medical fee reimbursement adds another $10 billion annually, according to a new report from the University of Virginia.

    So hospitals and other medical experts are looking for ways to help nurses protect their backs.

    One promising way to avoid injuries is to create a ``lift team'' and a mechanical patient lifting system, according to the U.Va. study, which was co-authored by an incoming medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Charles R. Woodard.

    Ten hospitals participated in the lift team study. The goal, according to an article published in the April issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine, is to transform lifting into a specialized skill performed only by professional patient movers.

    Team members used a machine called ChamberLift 2000, which employs a sling to raise and lower patients.

    Every hospital that used this approach reported a reduction in major categories of back injuries caused by moving patients. The teams allowed nurses to provide more time for patient care but created no significant delays for patients. Hospitals used the money they saved on worker's compensation claims to pay members of the lift team.

    Reach Liz Szabo at 446-2286 or lszabo@pilotonline.com
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