A Level I trauma center in Flint, Michigan developed and implemented a safe patient handling initiative in a high-risk patient population, designed to ensure coccyx/sacrum offloading and address risk of patient handling injury associated with in-bed patient repositioning. The standard of care before the quality improvement intervention was coccyx/sacrum offloading with chux, pillows, and rolled blankets, as necessary, and manual repositioning. The intervention included use of a patient-repositioning device and caregiver education on appropriate use. Baseline metrics were collected from November 2011 to August 2012, and the quality improvement initiative was launched in November 2012. Metrics were collected through August 2015. A total of 3,660 patients were assessed. A before-after comparison revealed a 48% decrease in hospital-acquired pressure injuries from baseline to August 2015 and a 74% decrease over time in patient handling injuries. This safe patient handling initiative ensured effective coccyx/sacrum offloading with a repositioning device, resulted in decreased hospital-acquired pressure injury rates, fewer patient handling injuries, and increased cost savings.
Keywords: safe patient handling, repositioning device, pressure ulcers, pressure injury