Review: Lifting injuries decrease after SPH programme

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      David Thomas

      Lifting and exertion injuries decrease after implementation of an integrated hospital-wide safe patient handling and mobilisation programme
      Authors: Dennerlein, J. T. et al

      This research paper reported an evaluation of a hospital-wide safe patient handling and mobilisation programme which integrated safe patient handling equipment and practices with care plans to improve patient outcomes. The intervention hospital, located in Boston USA, was compared to another hospital which had similar features including; more than 500 beds, types of inpatient units, diagnosis-related groups and payer types (health insurance). The comparison hospital did not have an integrated safe patient handling programme. Baseline and 12-month follow-up surveys of were conducted with random samples of 33% care workers in each hospital. A total of 1832 direct patient care workers from the 2 hospitals completed the surveys. Safe and unsafe patient handling practice scales at the intervention hospital improved significantly, with no changes at the comparison hospital. There were significant decreases (pre-post intervention changes) in injury rates at the intervention hospital including; neck and shoulder (Relative Risk (RR)=0.68), lifting and exertion (RR=0.73) and pain and inflammation (RR=0.78) injuries. Changes in injury rates at the comparison hospital were not statistically significant.

      This well-designed study reported significant reductions in injury rates among staff in the hospital which implemented a comprehensive moving and handling programme for care staff. A key feature of the programme was embedding the use of safe patient handling procedures into the care plan for each patient and aligning safe patient handling goals with the existing culture of patient care. Another notable feature of the intervention hospital programme was the emphasis on hands-on staff training in safe patient handling. There was more hands-on classroom group training at the intervention hospital (54% vs 16% in comparison hospital) and direct instruction in equipment operations by lifting equipment manufacturers (46% vs 20%). In contrast the comparison hospital staff reported more online coursework and/or seminars (53% in comparison hospital vs 41% in intervention hospital). The findings from this study are consistent with the general trend in research evidence that comprehensive moving and handling programmes significantly reduce injury rates among care workers and that hands-on training is an essential part of such programmes.

      Reference: Occup Environ Med, 2017; 74(5), 336-343.

      Reviewer: Emeritus Professor David R Thomas, Social and Community Health,
      University of Auckland, 22 May 2018

      • This topic was modified 1 year, 12 months ago by David Thomas.
      • This topic was modified 1 year, 12 months ago by David Thomas.
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