Tampa General gets lift teams.

  1. hope for fla nurses...may it last, and equipment be available day and night, in the right location!
    the $725,000 spent on work related injuries really shows justification for the $165,000 being spent to cover annual salaries and benefits for the workers and $80,000 in equipment is a good investment---about one-quarter the annual cost of work-related injury expenses and lost nurses.

    nurses should try to add this benefit to their next union contract negotiations!

    tampa general gets lift from team that moves patients
    by rafael gerena-morales rgerena@tampatrib.com
    published: apr 17, 2002

    tampa - moving patients was often a painful experience for tampa general hospital's nurses, aides and administrators, who last year spent $725,000 to treat related employee injuries.
    so tampa general has become the first hospital in florida to employ a six-person ``lift team'' responsible for moving patients using equipment that will be installed in 190 rooms and cost $80,000 during the next six months.

    tampa general's goal is to alleviate stress and reduce injuries by 50 percent among nurses and other workers who last year lost an estimated 800 workdays due to back problems.

    a typical back injury costs $6,500 to treat, but tampa general has spent $500,000 on at least four occasions in recent years to pay for multiple surgeries and disability claims related to back injuries, said manon labreche, who supervises the lift unit.

    ``our nurses are getting older. their average age is 46,'' labreche said. ``they were suffering more acute back injuries. the lift team should help us recruit and retain nurses.''

    cheryl wilson, a registered nurse, agrees.

    instead of waiting as long as 30 minutes to round up a half-dozen nurses to help move a patient - some of whom outweigh nurses by hundreds of pounds - wilson says she can better focus on care because the lift team often transports patients within minutes.

    ``i don't have to work as hard or worry about hurting my back,'' said wilson, 31. ``i just stand back while they do their thing, and i focus on nursing. they're a big help.''

    tampa general started the lift team positions in february and has budgeted $165,000 to cover annual salaries and benefits for the workers who must exercise and stay fit to keep their jobs. the team is staffed each day from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and handles as many as 40 calls daily, labreche said.

    team member charles fisher, 36, enjoys moving patients.

    ``i feel good because i'm helping people,'' he said.

    reporter rafael gerena-morales can be reached at (813) 259-7624.
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