Patient handling activities have long been acknowledged as the major contributing factor to back pain and musculoskeletal injuries in home care workers. A review of the literature describes qualitative and quantitative research which has been performed in an effort to improve the environment of care for home care workers and reduce the numbers and incidence of musculoskeletal injuries and low back pain. This paper also makes recommendations for additional research which is necessary to produce evidence-based guidelines for the home care industry. This includes the use of lateral transfer devices, overhead lifts and extremity slings for use in wound care, and longitudinal studies demonstrating that safe patient handling equipment significantly reduces musculoskeletal discomfort and injuries for field staff over long periods of time.
Keywords: home health care, safe patient handling, safety