Healthcare workers are exposed to many challenges every day. Most, such as infectious disease and frightened patients and family members are part of the profession. Challenges related to musculoskeletal disorders are not. The following situations contain several warning signs that lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Can you spot them?
It was a typical day at the nursing home. Mr. Smith, a favorite of the staff, attempted to get out of bed on his own and fell. Becky, one of the caregivers, promptly rushed to his aid, and lifted him back into bed and called for a nurse, making sure Mr. Smith didn’t hurt himself. Moments later, one of the orderlies assisted one of the weight-challenged patients from their wheelchair to use the restroom. The patient assured the orderly they didn’t need help getting up from the chair. However, that changed quickly when the patient lost their balance, forcing the orderly to steady the person’s nearly 325 lb frame.
Josie, another staff favorite, wanted to spend time in the facility’s solarium at the other end of the building. Unfortunately, the steep ramp prevented her from getting there without the assistance of a staff member to push the heavy wheelchair up the ramp. Finally, Ed’s cancer returned, forcing him into hospice care. Ed’s nurse and one staff member had to transfer him from his bed to the gurney—no easy task in cramped quarters of his room.
Did you identify all the situations having the potential for musculoskeletal injury to healthcare works and/or patients?
It only takes 35 lbs of patient/equipment weight lifted, pulled or pushed to cause serious musculoskeletal injury. That means, any interaction with patients and medical equipment have the potential to cause injury to medical staff. Do you know the warning signs for potential musculoskeletal injury? Here are six:
- Any excessive force required to lift/pull/push patient weight of 35 lbs or more
- Working in awkward positions
- Repetitive work
- Work requiring effort over a long duration
- Patient/equipment handling in areas where space is limited
- Moving, repositioning, supporting or balancing patient weight/equipment without proper assistance from ergonomic aids or staff
An ergonomic solution to musculoskeletal injuries
Performing these and similar tasks without sufficient help from additional staff or ergonomic aids places healthcare workers at risk for injury. Because demand for healthcare workers is projected to exceed supply in coming years, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities should look ergonomic equipment for staff and patient safety.
Our products are designed to eliminate excessive push/pull forces that cause musculoskeletal injury. For example, our BREEZ Patient Chair Transport provides patient comfort even for weight-challenged (up to 750 lbs) easy maneuvering and works extremely well in bariatric wards. Learn more about the BREEZ and all of our other motorized ergonomic healthcare products.