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Safe Lift Strategy

Rehab Management (07/08) Vol. 21 , No. 6 , P. 28 ; Long, Frank
Dismal injury rates at rehab firms can possibly be lowered through wider use of available lift devices designed to reduce the physical stress and strain on healthcare workers. Michelle Kerr, a therapist with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital's Boston Outpatient Center, says back injuries are the most commonly occurring injury among healthcare workers who transport patients.
Inside a patient's home, the functions of assistive equipment become imperative in mobility plans. Home healthcare workers or clinicians have access to a handful of affordable tools to ease transport and arranging, including circular pivot disks, which allow for proper emplacing; one-way glide cushions, which keep patients from sliding from their wheelchairs; and gait belts, which reduce risks during training courses and when moving patients.
Kilpatrick Lorio of the Shepherd Center's Specialty Care Unit in Atlanta, Ga., suggests the SAFE strategy--secure, ask, fully inspect, and educate--for transfers to reduce the risk of injury to both patient and care worker: secure the patient with a net or sling that is correctly placed under the patient; ask for help when needed, especially for clients who are less mobile; fully inspect the transfer corridor and ensure it is free of obstacles; and educate lift operators on how to safely operate lifting devices.


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