If you are a healthcare worker, you know that it’s very difficult to do your job without moving or lifting a patient. Assisting patients to the bathroom, shifting them to change bedding, taking them out of the room for tests, and helping them when they have fallen are all tasks you face every day. It’s no wonder that twice as many healthcare workers are injured on the job than workers in any other industry. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospital orderlies suffer more musculoskeletal injuries each year than firefighters and nurses’ assistants are injured on the job more often than police officers and correctional officers.
Safer Patient Handling Would Reduce Injury Rates Significantly
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 34 percent of all reported healthcare worker injuries are a direct result of patient handling. As healthcare workers age and as obesity rates among patients increase, these injuries will just become more frequent. There are things hospitals and nursing homes can do, however, to protect workers. The three most effective interventions include:
- Patient lifts. Special machinery designed to lift patients, lifts may be portable so that they can be wheeled from room to room or they may be permanently affixed to the ceiling above a patient’s bed. Hospitals that use this equipment report a drastic reduction in worker injuries, but not all hospitals have the devices available to workers.
- Lifting sheets. Mobility and transfer sheets are a less costly option for moving patients, but require multiple staff members to use them safely. These bed pads are designed to be slick so that patients can be easily slid from one side of the bed to the other and have handles on the sides so that four or more assistants can lift the patient to transfer him to another bed.
- Lift teams. Many hospitals have had success by implementing lift teams. Lift teams are groups of hospital personnel assigned to do all patient lifting and moving. Specially trained and provided with assistive devices, these teams are called in as needed and have resulted in fewer injuries.
If You Injured Your Back While Doing Your Job, We Can Help
As experienced workers’ compensation attorneys, we are here for you if you are a healthcare worker injured on the job. We know you are devoted to patient care, but you shouldn’t suffer as a result. Call us now to see how we can help.