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Module #14 │ Lifting & Transferring Patients

Module #14 focuses on the proper techniques for lifting and transferring patients. When assisting patients in getting up from bed, transferring to the wheelchair or toileting, improper techniques can cause injury.

Caregivers need to apply proper skills of ‘Lifting and Transfer’ to avoid repetitive strain injury, instill a sense of security in the elder, and ensure smooth and safe transfer.

Read carefully because at the end of this module is a quiz. There are 10 questions in total and 5 minutes to complete.  7 questions (70%) must be answered correctly. You have 8 chances to pass this module. 

 

In-Service Exams provided by Essential In-Services for Home Health, 2021

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace and job demands to the capabilities of caregivers. It is the science of fitting the job to the caregiver.

When the physical requirements of the job and the physical capacity of the caregiver do not match, then work-related injuries can result. Stress on the musculoskeletal system causes the majority of job injuries. Some of these muscular injuries have been linked to work habits that result in temporary or permanent disability.

Ergonomics can prevent injuries by helping us understand which tasks and body movements can hurt us and by finding new ways to do these tasks.

Keeping your back strong, stretched, and healthy is good. Good posture and mobility, proper lifting skills, and exercises are very important, but they are not enough to prevent injuries. Using ergonomic methods can mean:

  • Using equipment that will take the strain out of lifting and transferring patients.
  • Organizing work in new ways, such as storing items that are used daily on easy-to-reach shelves rather than near the floor or above the shoulders. 
  • Changing how tasks are done.

Teamwork is important so you do not lift and transfer by yourself and do not get in awkward positions to do your tasks. Proper lifting helps prevent injuries.

Caring for people who are not mobile tends to involve a great deal of lifting. You may need to assist them from the bed to the chair or the wheelchair and back to bed, and at times, you may need to help a person who has fallen onto the floor.

Improper lifting could injure your back and jeopardize your future ability to work.

Practice preventive care, which includes:

  • Good posture
  • Stretching and exercise
  • Lifting and transferring skills
  • Proper lifting devices
  • Teamwork

Posture and Work-Related Injuries
Poor posture can create problems by destroying the balance of the spine’s natural curves. The strain on muscles adds stress to the spine that may harm the discs. Poor body mechanics upset the balance of the natural curves of the spine. Good body mechanics keep your spine balanced during movement.

Good posture means more than just sitting up straight, particularly when speaking of protecting workers from work-related musculoskeletal disorders. How does good posture affect the musculoskeletal system? Good posture ensures that muscles will receive a good blood supply, thereby allowing the muscles to eliminate waste, receive nourishment, and repair damage caused by stress. 

Good posture helps the bodywork more effectively and efficiently. Since the body is designed to be in motion, standing or sitting in the same position for an extended period puts strain on the musculoskeletal system as tendons are pulled and joints are compressed. This reduces the blood supply to these areas, causing inflammation and pain.

Bad posture increases the risk of injury, so do not:

  • Slouch
  • Push the head forward beyond the plane of the shoulder
  • Stand in an awkward position that unevenly distributes your weight.
  • Hold the head in an awkward or twisted position.

Good posture decreases the risk of injury, so:

  • Sit or stand tall
  • Keep the ears over the shoulders
  • Keep the shoulders over the hips.
  • Hold the head straight, not tilted.
  • Position the head over the neck.
  • Keep your abdomen and buttocks tucked in.

Why Exercise?
Exercise relieves stress through activity. Stretching and strengthening exercises combine to balance the strength and tone of the muscles and ligaments. The muscles and ligaments are the supporting structure of the spine, so fitness benefits spinal health. 

Lifting & Transferring Techniques
Serious back, shoulder, and neck injuries occur as a result of poor lifting and transferring habits.  The following are some tips to reduce the strain on your back and the possibility of injuries. Protecting your back is working smarter, not harder.

General tips for lifting and transferring, the most important consideration is safety for yourself and the patient.

  • When lifting and transferring, the most important consideration is safety for yourself and the patient.
  • Ask for help and use teamwork. Talk to your helpers about what you plan to do, and talk to each other about what you are doing as you do it.
  • When needed, use the right equipment.
  • Plan the job. Move anything that is in the path.
  • Maintain the correct posture: Keep your back straight and knees bent from the waist, tighten your stomach muscles while bending and lifting. Bending your knees slightly will put stress on your legs, not your back.
  • Never twist when lifting, transferring, or reaching. Pick up your feet and pivot your whole body in the direction of the move. Move your torso as one unit. Twisting is one of the leading causes of injuries.
  • Maintain a wide base of support. Keep your feet at least shoulder-width apart or wider when lifting or moving.
  • Hold the person or object close to you, not at arm’s length. Holding things close to your body can minimize the effects of the weight.
  • Pushing is easier than pulling because your own weight adds to the force.
  • Use repeated small movements of large objects or people. For example, move a person in sections, by moving the upper trunk first and then the legs. Repeated small movements are easier than lifting things or people as a whole all at once.
  • Always face the patient or object you are lifting or moving.
  • Always tell a patient what you are planning to do, and find out how he or she prefers to be moved.

Conclusion
Your body has natural limits. Some tasks can lead to injuries when you go beyond these limits. Jobs should be designed to fit the worker. This is ergonomics. This is working smarter, not harder.

Protect yourself:

  • Work in teams
  • Call for support to prevent unsafe transfers
  • Use lifting equipment
  • Exercise to maintain a strong, healthy back.
  • Use proper posture and body mechanics.

Most companies have an ergonomic plan to prevent back sprain and strain injuries from happening. These plans should include:

  • Regular inspections to discover hazards that might lead to strain and sprain injuries.
  • Training for everyone on how they prevent injuries.
  • Safe staffing levels so workers don’t get hurt lifting heavy patients alone.
  • Useful or safe lifting devices.

Module #14 – Lifting/Transferring Patients Quiz