From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

New Safe Patient Handling Program Aims to Change Painful Picture

Imagine what lifting and repositioning patients many times a day does to the back over time. No one needs to draw a picture for nurses, orderlies and nursing assistants. They know about the pain of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Many leave the healthcare industry because their backs just can’t take the load. It is no surprise that the nursing profession is leading the drive to win acceptance in the nation’s hospitals and nursing homes for the mechanical aids that remove the strain from patient handling.

The “Safe Patient Movement and Handling” training program is their newest tool, and it will put nursing schools in the front line to turn around some grim statistics. United States Department of Labor 2002 figures show nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rank second on the list of at-risk occupations for strains and sprains. Truck drivers top the list. Nurses are sixth.

Referred to by the acronym SPH&M, the program is designed to cut the number and severity of health care MSDs and reduce the vulnerability of patients to injuries that can be incurred when they are moved. It will also be expected to “hardwire” proper technique and promote the use of mechanical assistance.

Developed in 2006 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) of the United States Department of Labor in partnership with the American Nurses Association (ANA) and Veterans Administration, it is already in place at 26 nursing schools around the country.

“Our eventual hope is that every school of nursing will use this curriculum,” explained Thomas Waters, Ph.D, CPE. in an interview with The Ergonomics Report