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Hill-Rom® Clinical Resource Center

Helping you implement evidence-based programs with connected technologies

Hill-Rom® Clinical Resource Center

Safe Patient Handling

Safe Patient Handling

  • Is your facility equipped for safe patient handling?
    Conti MT, et al. | Nursing Management | 2011

    Caregiver injuries are common and costly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that nurses and healthcare professionals are at increassed risk for nonfatal occupational injuries due to patient lifting and handling. Conti and Johnsen discuss the connection between having a facility equipped for safe patient handling and nurse injuries.

  • Ergonomics: Safe Patient Handling and Mobility
    Hallmark B, et al. | The Nursing Clinics of North America | 2015

    In 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than 20,000 registered nurses suffered nonfatal work-related injuries involving days away from work while more than 37,000 nursing assistants suffered the same. As the need to create a culture of safety for patients and caregivers becomes more and more critical, this article investigates the risks associated with patient handling and mobility as well as evidence-based practices to reduce injury. 

  • Fall prevention and bathroom safety in the epilepsy monitoring unit
    Spritzer SD, et al. | Epilepsy & Behavior | 2015

    Falls are one of the most common adverse events in the epilepsy monitoring unit, however, little is known regarding effectiveness of specific interventions due to variation in protocols and procedures between institutions. Over the course of 12 years, Mayo Clinic Arizona initiated several interventions to decrease falls and improve patient and caregiver safety resulting in a trend of decreasing fall frequency. However, no specific intervention could be identified as having a high impact on fall rates until the MasterVest™ ceiling lift system was put in place for use in all EMU patients when out of bed. Over 15 months after adopting the ceiling lift system, no falls occurred; preventing an expected 2.13 falls a year.

  • Effects of a National Safe Patient Handling Program on Nursing Injury Incidence Rates
    Powell-Cope G, et al. | Journal of Nursing Administration | 2014

    In this 3-year longitudinal study conducted at the Veterans Health Administration, researchers looked to identify which components of a system-wide safe patient handling program reduced musculoskeletal injury due to patient handling among nurses. Results concluded that risk factors such as bed days of care, facility complexity level, and baseline MSI incidence rate, were significantly associated with MSI incidence rates and explained 21% of its variation. Safe Patient Handling including deployment of ceiling lifts, peer leader effectiveness, competency in SPH equipment, facility coordinator link with safety committee, and peer leader training, accounted for an additional 23% of the total variation.

  • Current Topics in Safe Patient Handling
    American Nurse Today | 2014

    Several national experts share their perspectives and best practices to align people, process and technology in support of safe patient handling and mobility program development. This peer reviewed publication was supported by an educational grant from Hill-Rom and appeared in American Nurse Today September 2014.

  • Intervention Strategies to Reduce Musculoskeletal Injuries Associated with Handling Patients: A Systematic Review
    Hignett S | Occupational & Environmental Medicine | 2003

    This systematic review provides a overview of the clinical literature on safe patient handling  intervention strategies through 2001.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Interventions to Reduce Musculoskeletal Symptoms in the Health Care Sector
    Tullar JM | Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation | 2010

    This systematic review provides an overview of the state of the science on occupational safety and health derived from safe patient handling interventions.

  • Lumbar Spine Forces During Manoeuvring of Ceiling-based and Floor-based Patient Transfer Devices
    Marras WS, et al. | Ergonomics | 2009

    This article reviews an ergonomically-based study of the physical loads placed on the lumbar spine of caregivers during the operation of floor-based and ceiling-based patient lifts. Ten subjects were studied in a biodynamic laboratory. Using biometric testing, the researchers found that the forces associated with operating a floor or ceiling mechanical lift were significantly reduced when compared to manually lifting of a patient. Further, the authors found that ceiling lifts were preferable to floor lifts due to the amount of anterior/posterior shear forces.

  • Special Supplement to American Nurse Today – Best Practices for Falls Reduction: A Practical Guide
    American Nurse Today | 2011

    This special supplement to American Nurse Today contains a collection of articles authored by clinicians and executives to enhance the efforts of Fall Prevention programs to create fall-safe environments.

  • The Three-year Economic Benefits of a Ceiling Lift Intervention Aimed to Reduce Healthcare Worker Injuries
    Chhokar R, et al. | Applied Ergonomics | 2005

    This article is a review of a resident lifting program that was implemented in an extended care facility. The facility installed ceiling lift systems for 125 beds and three tubs. A review of injury reports was conducted for a three year period prior to implementation and for three years post-implementation. Injuries were categorized according to the task being performed at the time of injury. Overall patient handling injuries decreased from 65 to 47, however lifting and transferring injury claims decreased from 30 to 10. Estimations were calculated for the cost savings from injury avoidance amounted to $1,257,605.

  • When Is It Safe to Manually Lift a Patient?
    Waters TR | American Journal of Nursing | 2007

    This article describes the revised NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) tool for calculating the recommended weight limit for manual lifting. In general, NIOSH recommends a 35-pound limit for patient handling tasks. Assisting devices should be used when weights to be lifted exceed 35 pounds.

  • Fall and Injury Prevention
    Currie L, et al. | Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses | 2008

    This chapter of the handbook presents evidence-based guidelines for falls and injury prevention in the elderly.

  • Cost-Effectiveness of a Day Hospital Falls Prevention Programme for Screened Community-Dwelling Older People at High Risk of Falls
    Irving L, et al. | Age and Ageing | 2010

    This study evaluated the economic impact of a multidisciplinary falls prevention program on patients aged ≥70. Falls were self-reported and collected in 12 monthly diaries. Mean falls rates were 2.07 per person/year in the intervention arm and 2.24 per person/year in the control arm. There was a mean incremental cost reduction of 3,320 GBP per fall averted.

  • Cost Effectiveness of a Multifaceted Program for Safe Patient Handling
    Siddharthan K, et al. | Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation | 2005

    This article reviews a study that was completed at 23 high-risk VHA units that implemented a safe patient handling program. The units served as their own historical controls by comparing post-implementation data to the previous year's same nine-month period. 537 staff members were involved in the study from 19 nursing homes and 4 spinal cord injury units. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. After taking account of the capital costs associated with the purchase of the equipment, the program resulted in an estimated cost savings of $155,719 for the nine-month period. Additionally, a statistically significant reduction in caregiver injuries occurred, resulting in a decrease in lost work days and worker's compensation costs.

  • An Evaluation of a "Best Practices" Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program in Nursing Homes
    Collins JW, et al. | Injury Prevention | 2004

    This article examines interventions in safe patient handling in nursing homes and provides best practices with measurable results.

  • Long-term Efficacy of an Ergonomics Program that Includes Patient-handling Devices on Reducing Musculoskeletal Injuries to Nursing Personnel
    Garg A, et al. | Human Factors | 2012

    This articles shows that patient handling devices and safe patient handling programs may decrease patient handling injuries by as much as 59% across long term care and critical care facilities. Decreases in injuries translated into a 90% reduction in workers compensation costs in this study.

  • Nurses' Presenteeism and Its Effects on Self-Reported Quality of Care and Costs
    Letvak SA, et al. | American Journal of Nursing | 2013

    This articles describes the effect nurses presenteeism has on the quality and cost of care. It specifically looks at its impact on medication errors and patient falls.  The authors found that for every point in self reported presenteeism there was an 18% increased likelihood in patient falls. (p = 0.004).  The costs of presenteeism on patient falls and medication errors combined is estimated nationally at $13 billion.

  • Nursing Injury Rates and Negative Patient Outcomes - Connecting the Dots
    Charney W, et al. | AAOHN Journal | 2007

    This article discusses the connection between nursing injury rates and nursing staff shortages. The article concludes that staff shortages are scientifically linked to negative patient outcomes due to less nursing time at bedside.

  • Role of Bed Design and Head-of-Bed Articulation on Patient Migration
    Davis K, et al | Journal of Nursing Care Quality | 2015

    Repositioning patients in bed puts both patients and caregivers at risk.  Patients experience shear and friction which are risk factors for pressure ulcers, while caregivers who are repositioning patients are at risk for lower back injuries.  This study examined the influence of hospital bed design on patient migration. Over 180 trials, Bed A (Hill-Rom® Progressa® bed system) showed 85-86% (p< 0.001) less patient migration and 34% less torso compression compared to current alternatives.  Three in four subjects preferred the Hill-Rom® Progressa® bed system. The author concludes that optimal bed design should reduce patient migration which may lead to clinically significant reductions in health risks to patients and caregivers.

  • AGS/BGS Clinical Practice Guideline: Prevention of Falls in Older Persons

    This multidisciplinary clinical practice guideline discusses barriers to and describes recommendations for the prevention of falls in the elderly in clinical practice.

  • Patient Handling and Movement Assessments: A White Paper
    Cohen MH, et al. | Facility Guidelines Institute | 2010

    Commonly referred to as PHAMA, this white paper serves as a guideline for facilities on patient handling and movement. This guide also serves as a 'how-to' for facilities that are engaging in new construction or redesign. The guideline is a requirement for participants to conduct a patient handling and movement assessment in order to best design a physical space that will be conducive to patient and caregiver safety.

  • Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards
    Matz MW, et al. | American Nurses Association | 2013

    This interprofessional national standard from the American Nurses Association reviews the need for safe patient handling and mobility for healthcare recipients and care providers in terms of safety for all involved. It proposes eight standards that are relevant to those involved regardless of the care setting.

  • Safe Patient Handling Training for Schools of Nursing: Curricular Materials
    Waters TR, et al. | National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health | 2009

    This document describes a nursing school curriculum for safe patient handling and movement in order to reduce patient injury and falls and reduce the risk for musculoskeletal injury in nurses.

  • Ergonomics: Manual Handling of Patients in Healthcare
    International Standards Organization (ISO) | 2012

    The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published these guidelines on the manual handling of patients in healthcare to apply to all countries globally.

  • Health Care Protocol: Preventing of Falls (Acute Care)
    Degelau J, et al. | Institute of Clinical Systems Improvement | 2008

    This article describes best practices in fall prevention. Topics discussed include fall risk assessment, education to prevent falls, interdisciplinary collaboration in fall prevention, and strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls in the acute-care setting.

  • Beyond Getting Started: A Resource Guide for Implementing a Safe Patient Handling Program in the Acute Care Setting
    Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare | 2006

    This resource guide explains how to develop, implement and maintain a safe patient handling program in an acute care environment to reduce the risk of patient falls, skin breakdown, and injury to healthcare worker.

  • Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program

    Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program provides resources to assist you in design, implementation and measurement of a safe patient handling program.

  • Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program Education Courses

    Hill-Rom supports continuing professional education to advance awareness, skills andto change behaviors of health care providers regarding the importance of safe patienthandling. Through the courses offered, your staff will gain a command of safe patient handling (SPH) principles and practical application. 

  • Safe Transfers and Movement ™ Program Development Workshop

    The objective of this workshop is to define and create a SPH program customized to your organization’s goals. Led by one of Hill-Rom’s Directors of SPH Programs and Services, your team will be guided through:

    • Create a foundation on the value of a SPH Program Plan and review theory-driven approachesto create and sustain change in your practice

    • Develop customized SPH policy and procedures for implementation

    • Develop operational processes to support your program

    • Create education schedules based on materials in the Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program

  • Safe Transfers and Movement ™ Toolkit Brochure

    This toolkit is designed to be a self-guided, one-stop resource for your program needs offering a step-by-step approach with tools, industry research and information and customizable templates to support your program developmentand implementation. 

  • Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program Brochure

    This brochure explains how the Safe Transfers and Movement™ Program can be used to help you design, implement and measure a safe patient handling program in your facility.

  • VA Nursing Home Facility Safe Patient Handling Policy

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has created industry standards for safe patient handling. This document is a copy of the policy established by the VHA for the implementation and maintenance of safe patient handling programs in all VHA nursing home facilities.

  • Veteran's Administration (VA) High-Risk Areas Assessment

    This is an example of a facility assessment tool that is currently in use at Veteran's Administration (VA) facilities.

  • VA Acute Care Facility Safe Patient Handling Policy

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has created industry standards for safe patient handling. This tool is a copy of the policy established by the VHA for the implementation and maintenance of safe patient handling programs in all VHA acute care facilities.

  • VA Algorithms and Mobility Assessment

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has created industry standards for safe patient handling. This document is a copy of the VHA-created algorithms that provide guidance regarding safe patient handling best practices.

  • Back Pain and Your Brain: William S. Marras TEDx Talk
    Marras WS | TED | 2014

    In this TEDx talk, Dr. Marras provides an overview of the science of back pain and its link to your brain.  In it you’ll learn about the causes of lower back pain, which is a very common caregiver injury.  This common caregiver injury may be prevented with a multifaceted safe patient handling and mobility program.

  • National Public Radio (NPR) Special Series: Injured Nurses
    Zwerdling D | National Public Radio (NPR) | 2015

    In this National Public Radio (NPR) special series, "Injured Nurses", Daniel Zwerdling explores the high prevalence of nursing injury rates due to the lifting and moving of patients in the acute care setting. Nursing employees suffer nearly 35,000 back and arm other injuries every year, more than any other occupation. Yet many of these injuries could be prevented with new lift technology and a safe patient handling program. With a clear need for practices that prevent nursing injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced in June 2015 that they will begin enforcing safe patient handling practices to prevent these debilitating injuries.  


    Stories in this series include:


    • Hospitals Fail To Protect Nursing Staff From Becoming Patients, originally aired February 4, 2015
    • Even 'Proper' Technique Exposes Nurses' Spines To Dangerous Forces, originally aired February 11, 2015
    • Hospital To Nurses: Your Injuries Are Not Our Problem, originally aired February 18, 2015
    • At VA Hospitals, Training and Technology Reduce Nurses' Injuries, originally aired Febryary 25, 2015
    • Despite High Rates Of Nursing Injuries, Government Regulators Take Little Action, originally aired March 24, 2015
    • OSHA Launches Program To Protect Nursing Employee, originally aired June 24, 2015


    Listen to or read about the stories here.

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