The hospital morgue is usually one of the last areas considered for safe patient handling (SPH) interventions, but should be one of the first. However, the death of a patient does not mean that the risk to the caregiver in moving and handling the patient is eliminated because every deceased patient is 100% dependent and every caregiver is 100% at risk. The journey of the deceased from the clinical area to the morgue, possibly to the autopsy room, and on to the funeral directors presents many potential points of injury for the caregiver and transporter, with morticians and their assistants who are based outside the hospital, also at risk when handling the body. This article looks at the background to the risks associated with moving deceased patients, the areas in which these risks occur, and some of the solutions available to begin to address the problems associated with implementing safe patient handling into the morgue and beyond.
Keywords: morgue, deceased patient handling, lifting and transferring