The Need for Safe Resident Handling & Mobility (SRHM) in an Assisted Living Setting. Where are we now?



While there has been much work conducted in changing patient handling practices in acute and long-term care, little effort has been spent in advancing the integration of SRHM in the area of assisted living. The fact that only 11 states in the United States have developed safe patient handling legislation for acute care facilities, with no additional states adopting SPHM laws since California in 2014, demonstrates a complete lack of consistency and continuity of approach to the safety of patients and staff in acute care. This inconsistent approach is also reflected when examining the use of assistive devices in an assisted-living setting. While some states very clearly say yes to the use of assisted devices such as the Hoyer lift, other states appear less definitive about whether this technology can be used to assist the resident with his or her activities of daily living (ADLs). 

This article is the first of 3 that examines whether there is a need for a culture of SRHM as part of a resident and staff safety culture in an assisted living environment. It will identify the need, through data collected on the injury risk to care workers in assisted-living facilities, as well as the legislative and regulatory restrictions that either facilitate or restrain the use of assistive devices in assisted living facilities, and what needs to happen to move forward with the needs of the resident placed front and center. The second article takes a more in-depth look at the risks for caregivers when they provide assistance to their residents with ADLs living and the technological solutions that can mitigate these risks, again, taking into account what each state will allow. The third article brings together a group of experts to discuss what they see as the challenges facing caregivers who work in healthcare facilities and what is preventing a more federal approach to the adoption of technologies being available for use in assisted living facilities in all 50 states in the United States.

Severson L, Monaghan H

Key Words: Safe patient handling, assisted living, resident handling, resident safety, caregiver safety

One time download – from September 2022 Issue