Transforming Safety at the Bedside with Safe Patient Handling Practice



Safe work practices are important to reduce the risk of injury while performing patient handling tasks. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a major safety concern in the current health care arena due to the lifting of patients with higher acuity levels and obesity. A level I trauma center in Western New York implemented a safe patient handling program throughout the continuum of care to decrease healthcare worker injuries. The program was fully developed over 3 years beginning in 2016. There was a large focus on involving frontline staff in the decision-making for equipment choices and training via a strong safe patient handling committee, trial of products, and vendor fair. Importance was placed on the advice from key players of already successful programs as well. A pre-/post-evaluation of the effectiveness of the program demonstrated that the institution appreciated a 50% decrease in worker’s compensation claims, a 79% reduction in associated costs, a 73% reduction in lost workdays, and an 83% reduction in restricted workdays pertaining to patient handling injuries.

Miller LJ, Mahar S, Nicastro B

Keywords: patient safety, safe patient handling, evaluation, New York State, staff engagement

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