Appropriate alignment is important should an organization attempt to implement a successful injury prevention program such as Safe Patient Handling.

Given the common complexities often involved in clinical practice operations, successful Safe Patient Handling programs are consistent with several key factors. The ideal candidate to lead such an undertaking should be a health care professional who is central to the entire patient care process. This person is commonly a Registered Nurse.

In considering this suggestion, an RNs’ responsibilities to patient care in hospital care settings typically involves coordinating various diagnostics and treatments prescribed for the patient both inside and outside the direct point-of-care. From the Physician placing orders, to the Radiology Tech performing an imaging procedure; these things are unlikely to happen without the care coordination of a nurse.

In addition to coordination responsibilities, bedside nurses are also tasked with assisting and maintaining the patient’s activities of daily living. This also includes those patients with mobility challenges which typically requires nursing staff to manually lift and move these patients who are physically limited or completely unable to move themselves. Given the commonality of manual lifting tasks routinely performed at the bedside, clinical staff throughout other areas within the organization who are also required to manually move patients typically mimic the lifting and moving techniques performed by bedside nursing staff. Having said this, should a sustained change in manual lifting practices were to happen, bedside nurses would have to buy-in to the new practice processes which involves the inclusion of patient-lift equipment. More importantly, a Registered Nurse serving in the role of Safe Patient Handling Coordinator is best positioned to lead the transition from traditional manual lifting techniques to these safer patient lift practices based on previous bedside nursing experience.

The RP Hawkins Group focuses on assisting facility coordinators to identify specific causative factors leading to caregiver injuries related to manual patient-lift practices. We work to ensure that coordinators are knowledgeable of appropriate mechanical-lift substitutes; patient-lift equipment that does not require extra time or create extra steps to utilize.  Whereas we understand that it is difficult for caregivers to conform to new clinical practice processes, our focus consists of equipping the facility coordinator with practical skills needed to lead end-users to consistently use patient-lift equipment. Through applying these skills with our guidance and direction, program coordinators become more likely to reduce manual patient handling injury risk and achieve desired injury reduction outcomes.

Contact Roric to discuss how to transform manual lifting practices in your organization.