Giving a lift to safe patient care
Vol. 1 No. 1 March 2006
Welcome to this issue of Safe Lifting News, a periodic e-newsletter designed to report on what's happening in the world of safe patient lifting and movement. Our desire is to initiate a
dialog with you because this is your newsletter and we want you to look forward to receiving every issue. So please take a moment to tell us what you want to read and know about. You can send me an e-mail with more of your thoughts and reactions. Tell us about your job responsibilities and where your facility stands on safe patient lifting. And if you've got a question, just
"Ask the Lift Doctor" per the instructions below. We look forward to hearing from you!
Editor, Safe Lifting News
Headlines in the news...
Preview of 2006 Safe Patient Handling and Movement Conference
The upcoming (Feb.27 - Mar. 3, 2006) SPHM Conference in Clearwater, FL, will feature presentations from leading industry experts on various aspects of safe patient handling. Included are pre- and post-conference sessions, numerous general presentations, and more than 25 optional workshop sessions. Topics range from handling Bariatric patients to workers' compensation, and many of the sessions offer optional opportunities for hands-on and practical application experience. If you are interested in attending, sign up by visiting:
Helpful hint: If you are NOT able to attend the conference, you may want to sign up in advance to purchase a copy of conference proceedings. A limited number of conference syllabi are available at a cost of $150 per copy. Simply send an e-mail to
Several States Are Enacting Safe Handling Legislation….Is YOURS??
Last year's passage of Texas Bill SP 1525 was a landmark step forward in the caregiver injury prevention crusade. The bill, effective January 1, 2006, established a number of protocols that must be followed in regard to the safe handling of patients and nursing home residents. It requires that quality assurance committees must adopt strategies to control the risk to patients and nurses associated with lifting, moving, or otherwise repositioning the residents. At least two other states have enacted comparable legislation, Ohio and New York, and similar bills have been introduced in Washington, Iowa, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. California's version is being resubmitted after failing to receive Executive branch approval.
The ANA, through its "Handle with Care" campaign, is taking an active leadership role by spearheading similar legislative activities in most other states. And ANA is also active at the Federal level as well. According to Barbara Blakeney, ANA's president, "The goal of this campaign is to establish a nationwide `no-lifting' policy, similar to policies that are already in place in the United Kingdom, Australia and other industrialized nations." It's only a matter of time before we see federal laws regulating the safe handling of patients. Can readers of this newsletter help out?? Why not pass this article along to your state legislator, and add a note with your statement of support!
Here are some interesting links regarding legislation and additional information:
Overview and Map
Bariatric patients can now adjust their position while suspended in a sling
When transferring a bariatric patient between a bed and chair or onto a commode, it's often difficult to tilt the patient forward or backward to ensure they are in the most comfortable position possible. Further, even though "comfort" is a subjective term, bariatric patients frequently complain of being "uncomfortable" while suspended or while being lifted by a mobile patient lift. To remedy this situation, a ceiling lift with two separate motors can be used, enabling patients to "self-adjust" their comfort level and position themselves ideally for transfer to seated or supine positions. To view a brief video illustrating the advantages of tilting bariatric patients while suspended, click here.
Lifting Kids Is No Big Deal, Right?
Wrong!! Lifting children can be just as dangerous - to both caregivers and patients - as lifting adults. In fact, often caregivers underestimate the jeopardy because of their perception that children SHOULD be easier to lift. Please bear in mind that the OSHA lifting limit recommendations in other industries is 50 POUNDS!! (Except in healthcare where the limit is 100 pounds….go figure!) Do you want to read about child-sized lifts and slings that have been recently introduced? How about children's slings complete with Teddy Bears on them? Click here to view a brochure.
Student Nurse Pilot Project targets hands-on experience
Major lift vendors are participating in a pilot project sponsored by the ANA and VA Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, Tampa FL. The vendors are providing equipment and installation assistance to a number of nursing schools across the country. The objective of the pilot project is to develop a safe patient handling curriculum module designed to teach students how to move and handle patients safely with the help of the most up-to-date mechanical equipment and using the latest instructional techniques. Instruction of student nurses in proper use of mechanical lifting equipment is seen as a key milestone on the path toward elimination of caregiver musculoskeletal injuries. Read more about how the program is being implemented at a typical test site:
Ask the lift doctor... This month's question comes to us from Sherri Leon Torres, BSN, Rainbow ALC, Prince George, British Columbia.
Questions: How often do the slings for the Sabina need to be laundered. Our sling has a sheep skin like cover - is this safe to go into the washer? We are a long term care facility. As well, do you recommend designating a sling to an MRSA+, incontinent resident? Thank you.
Thanks for your questions.
Sabina vests (with or without sheepskin covers) are generally applied slightly above the patient's waist in a seated position. At this time, due to the vest position against the patient's body and an imposed infection control barrier that is usually placed between the vest and the patient, these vests are generally used between patients and currently not used specific to one patient.
When toileting a patient, urine and/or fecal matter may come in splash contact with the vest, at which time laundering is the only solution. With this particular vest soiling scenario, the vest should not be used on another patient until after laundering. Although it may happen from time to time, it is difficult to prevent this type of splash contact-again laundering being the only solution.
Blood and other bodily fluids may also come in contact with the vest but may also be more preventable with a barrier between the patient and the vest. One such barrier is the sheepskin cover. Used effectively the sheepskin cover acts as a barrier for bodily fluids (including urine and fecal matter). Although the loop straps of the vest are exposed while a sheepskin cover is attached, they may be mist sprayed with the house disinfectant provided that blood is not on the loop straps or any other part of the vest.
The sheepskin vest cover can be removed by the zipper connection and laundered separately and a back-up sheepskin cover can be re-attached in its place. Dependent transfer slings like those for MRSA and incontinent patients should be patient specific (designated) and also laundered appropriately for that individual patient. Overall, due to rising infection control concerns in healthcare environments, the practice of intra-patient sling and vest usage is slowly waning.
The Lift Doctor
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