Giving A Lift to Safe Patient Care
  September 2008  


Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to the latest issue of Safe Lifting News, a pro bono electronic newsletter designed to keep you informed about what’s happening in the world of safe patient lifting and caregiver injury prevention.   

Please read the results of last month's Reader Poll below… and consider asking a question in our popular column, "Ask the Lift Doctor," using the link below.

Warm regards,

Melissa Nowitz
Editor, Safe Lifting News


Results of Last Month's Reader Poll

How would you rate your facility in terms of implementing a safe lifting program?

See the full poll results here.

NOTE: If you need assistance with your injury prevention program, please contact one of our Safe Lifting Consultants at 888-545-6671 x 307


Gundersen Lutheran Heath System Wins Safe Lifting Leadership Award

Gundersen Lutheran Health System of La Crosse, WisconsinThe Gundersen Lutheran Health System of La Crosse, Wisconsin, recently accepted an award plaque in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in safe patient handling, safe lifting, and caregiver injury prevention.  Gundersen Lutheran Health System includes a 325-bed teaching hospital and a Level II Trauma Center. As one of the leading medical facilities in the mid-west, the health system has received eleven top 100 designations in as many years. Key components of their staff injury prevention program included installation of ceiling lifts to transfer patients, an extensive staff orientation and training program, and on-going monitoring of lift usage.


From the Reading Room

Review of OSHA Ergonomics Guidelines – Healthcare Wide Hazards Module

OSHA recommends minimizing manual lifting of patients/residents in all cases and eliminating lifting when possible.  Check it out here.


Bariatric Patient Handling – per NYS Zero Lift Task Force

As hospitals struggle to serve the growing number of overweight patients, design experts offer tips on creating bariatric-friendly healthcare spaces. Click here for recommendations regarding bariatric patient handling.

Review of OSHA Ergonomics – Guidelines for Nursing Homes

This document includes recommendations for nursing home employers to help reduce the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in their facilities. Click here to view this document.

Risk Assessment Guidance – Courtesy of WorkSafeBC

Here’s an extensive and well thought out guideline for risk assessment implementation. It’s part of a larger work published by WorkSafeBC (British Columbia). Click here to view this document.

New Portal Section for Nursing Schools

It’s important for student nurses to learn the fundamentals of safe lifting right from the very beginning of their careers. Toward that end we have introduced a new section of the Portal devoted primarily to Nursing School topics. While much of the content on the Safe Lifting Portal site is applicable to students, we believe there is sufficient student-specific material to justify a separate dedicated section. We encourage you to visit the new site and offer your suggestions for additional materials to include in the future. Many thanks for your inputs!


Notable Notes:

The U.S. government predicts 3 million new employees will enter the health care field by the year 2016— creating more new jobs than any other sector in industry. However, according to recent Bureau of Labor statistics, those new workers risk becoming part of one of the most injury-prone workplaces in the nation.  For example, nursing homes rank a conspicuous third place for incidents of workplace injury.

News from our sponsor

Liko, our pro bono sponsor, has announced two new additions to its “Stat” family of repositioning sheets.  The HandySheet and HandyTube are designed to set new performance benchmarks for low-friction transfer and repositioning aids.  Both sheets were developed to facilitate a variety of caregiver tasks including placement of slings under patients, movement of patients in bed, turning patients, and performing lateral transfers.  Click here to read more.


Adjustments needed for repositioning in bed

I am a nurse at an MPLS hospital and have been using the lift for a week. I am finding that it is causing strain in a different area of my back because I am reaching up with my arms to move the pt up in bed and I am feeling strain on the side middle muscles of my back. Any suggestions?  (I am using the ceiling lift. I am thinking maybe I need to have the pt lower than I would ordinarily have the pt for boosting. I am feeling that when I do the lift by myself for boosting I am pushing with my arms overhead so that I am feeling strain on the side of my body. Also can you remind me of the battery life-can I leave it unplugged during my shift)

Karen A. Sloey

EMS bariatric transport

Being that it seems a majority of patients out in the field we transport are significantly heavier than they used to be, are there any studies that can help us decide when a bariatric transport unit should be considered. We do use Stryker powerlift cots and assisted stair chairs and two person crews on all units, but that only helps with weight, not width. We do not have the luxury of a controlled environment and hoisting equipment. We need to justify a bariatric ambulance and stretcher system.

David Shull
Lexington County EMS


User friendly patient lifter for ICU

I am looking for a friendly patient lifter for the ICU. The lift itself must be correct so no skin breakdown occurs and the device it attaches to must also be very user friendly.

Joan Blust


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