I'm working with a pt who is about 80lbs. The parents don't want a lift in the house because they feel it is more work than just lifting the patient. The parents also make excuses like the carpet makes the lift hard to push and its too big and doesn't look good in the room. My concern is that I don't want to be injured lifting or have my patient injured. There is the possibility for seizures while lifting or severe agitation while lifting that can increase the risk of injury. The patient will also try to kick, bite, and arch her/his back.
I spoke with my agency about my concerns and have made a few comments multiple times. I was told it is up to the parents and that if I don't feel safe lifting the patient that I don't have to. I told the agency that I don't want the parents to let me go because I'm not comfortable lifting the patient. I'm pretty sure that makes the agency liable if I get injured because they aren't doing what they have to for my safety. I don't have any back problems and I'd rather not take a risk when there are reasonable options available. I feel the agency should tell the family that they have to provide the nurses with a lift for the nurses safety and that the family doesn't have to use the lift if they dont want to. The family would be ok with a track lift, but ins. won't cover it and will only cover a manual lift. We aren't even provided a back brace.
I'm wondering if its a violation of OSHA. But I don't want to upset the agency. Because I know if I put in a complaint to OSHA that the agency would let me go. I understand the agencies want to bend over backwards to keep the family happy so they don't lose the case. And they would be ok to replace any nurse who gets injured. I would like to stay on the case since they don't have any others. They are a smaller agency and only staff to the cases instead of keeping lots of nurses hired without work. Any other options? Opinions? One other option I have is if the patient goes to school, I can get the assistants to do a 2 person lift with me.
Thanks in advance for responses!!
Sep 19, '12
What about getting your own back brace to protect yourself/reduce the potential for injury? They aren't too expensive to pay out of pocket and if your work expenses are high enough it is tax deductible as a work-related expense (just like scrubs
might be easier than risking your job by calling OSHA especially since the hours permit you to go to school.
Education is one component of safety precautions (safe lifting, back protection) , they cannot force a family to purchase a lift if it is not covered by insurance and out of their financial means.
Sep 20, '12
The manual lift is covered. Just not the lift the family wants.
Sep 22, '12
You only have 1 back. At my agency, anything over 75 lbs. is a 2-person lift. If the family refuses to get a lift or to help you with all transfers, you may have to refuse the case.
Sep 22, '12
You have to put yourself first and refuse to lift the patient. The family doesn't care about your back really.Their excuses for not getting a lift are pretty flimsy.Plus if the pt. kicks, bites and arches their back there is a risk to the patient as well.I know a person that was dropped when someone was lifting them and they were seriously injured. I also had a coworker that was disabled permanently when lifting a patient.
Last edit by loriangel14 on Sep 25, '12
Sep 25, '12
No way. 80 lbs is heavy! I wouldn't go right to OSHA, but I would definitely talk with both the parents and your agency again and reiterate that you do not feel safe lifting this patient. I would think that everyone would agree that patient safety (and your own!) is more important than aesthetics. I know that families get to dictate what they want, but patient safety should supercede preferences. Insurance covers the lift, why not give it a shot? Maybe it's not as cumbersome as they think it is. Their child is growing and will probably one day get to the point when lifting alone isn't an option.
Sep 26, '12
Management finally decided to push the issue! The family isn't happy about it and is still making negative comments about it. But the management went ahead and got the order for the lift and is trying to get it and have it delivered to the home. And the family is going to be beyond angry about it. The family just asked me again yesterday why I couldn't lift the patient from the w/c up to the bed (the family wants the stuff in the way of the knob that raises/lowers the bed). I told them it wasn't safe for myself or the patient. The mom rolled her eyes and walked out of the room after telling me one nurse there does it. (I love the thanks I get for caring about their childs safety). The rest of the nurses and myself refuse to do it. Guess we'll see what happens.
Sep 27, '12
Glad to hear that they got the order for the lift. Good luck. At my ex private duty nursing job, they would not have gotten a lift. They would have just said "Tough luck about your back." I was told to just do whatever the mother says to do period.
Sep 27, '12
Nice to see that your agency decided to support you and the other nurses on the case...before a nurse or the patient was injured. Good luck with the family. Maybe they'll realize that it's not so bad to have the lift.
My biggest pet peeve is when other nurses on a case continue doing things that we shouldn't (unsafely lifting, overstepping boundaries) and then when you appropriately say "no, I'm sorry I can't" the family gets upset and says "Well Jane/Jill/Jack/Bob/Sally does it with no problem, so why don't you?"
Oct 1, '12
Found out today the family went against the agency and refuses the lift. I talked with the family again and they said they don't want nurses in here that won't lift the patient without a lift. I explained again that it's a safety issue for the patient and the nurse. They replied they didn't see why we couldn't do it. I explained they don't have to use three lift and just the nurses would and they said no because it doesn't work. Uuuggghhh.
Oct 1, '12
Stand your ground. They won't back you up if you get hurt and they won't care either.
Oct 1, '12
I worked a case once where there was a very very interesting contraption... a "Cindy Lift". It worked like a hand truck. I never saw one before or since. Extremely clever lift and it was more comfortable for the client than hanging in mid air. Something to look into, I know I would prefer to be transferred in that than a Hoyer.
Oct 11, '12
This seems like a tough call for the nurse and for the family. You didn't say what issues your patient has and that might be a factor in the family's decision. Personally, I find the independent lifts to be obnoxiously large. Have you ever tried it out (as the patient)? It's scary and uncomfortable. Our agency asked us to get one. In all the years we had nursing, you know how many nurses used it or even asked if we wanted them use it? Zero! Want to know how many times we used it? Twice. Once on my son who desatted to 40% and turned blue from freaking out from the lack of support and once on me. It sat in the utility room for dozens of months after that.
Most of the nurses could move our son individually. I always did a team lift with nurses that got pregnant and with one nurse who I adored but was super tiny.