Lifting and exertion injuries decrease after implementation of an integrated hospital-wide safe patient handling and mobilisation programme

Patient handling and mobilisation activities in acute care hospitals are a
fundamental aspect of patient care. As of late, there is a strong emphasis on
early and frequent patient mobilisation to improve rehabilitation during and
after hospitalisation. Early and frequent patient mobilisation maintains
patient hygiene, prevent physical deconditioning and reduce serious
complications of immobility.

This increase in patient mobilisation to improve patient care increases the
physical demands of hospital workers, hence the risk of injury. Hospital
workers have high rates of musculoskeletal disorders most likely in part due to
the physical demands associated with patient handling. Therefore, to prevent
worker injuries associated with the expected increase in demands, these quality
initiatives need to be implemented with an embedded safe patient handling and
mobilisation programme to improve care of the patient and the safety and health
of the caregiver.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a hospital-wide, safe
patient handling and mobilisation programme within the context of a healthcare
quality improvement initiative that included emphasising early and frequent
patient mobilisation. Based on their experience, hospital leadership determined
that the quality improvement initiative needed to include a comprehensive
hospital-wide programme for safe patient handling and mobilisation. The
programme design consisted of effective systems approaches described throughout
the literature and that of our own experiences. A unique element of the
programme was embedding and integrating the use of safe patient handling and
mobilisation equipment and practices into the patient care plan aimed at
increasing the patient mobility and aligning the goals of the worker safety
programme with the priority of workers to providing care to their patients.

Within the context of a patient mobilisation initiative, a safe patient
handling and mobilisation programme was associated with improved work practices
and a reduction in recordable worker injuries. This study demonstrates the
potential impact of utilising a systems approach based on recommended best
practices, including integration of these practices into the patient's plan for

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)