Do you “lift” patients or others?

February 12th, 2015

Nurses, Home Health Workers, Correctional Officers, Orderlies, Nurses Aids – – Be Informed.

Consider this – – You’re a well paid nurse, striving as trained to help your patients and serve the “greater good.” Then, while following protocol and doing that which you have been trained to do, you in fact become the patient.

This is surprisingly all too common in the nursing field with more nurses reporting back injuries than construction workers.

And why you may ask?

Improper training. According to an NPR report over 100 years of improper training. That’s right. For over 100 years the medical field, a group of some of the best and brightest of our society, have been trained and training others incorrectly.

Now as you think on this, open your mind to why. If you were an employee and directed in training, or perhaps during your schooling, to bend with your knees, position yourself closely and simply “pick up” a 150 pound log, anvil, concrete block, etc. (you chose the object) – What would you do? You’d likely tell your professor or trainer by way of a sideways look that they were crazy. You’re not going to pick up a 150 lbs log without a group of people and more likely than not, without a machine or some equipment. Yet that is what nurses are trained to do and do daily. And 150 lbs is on the light end. Nurses are actually trained and encouraged, albeit via a group lift, to pick up patients as heavy or even heavier then 300 lbs.

So think with me here. Is this a good thing? No. It is most certainly not and that is why nurses in droves are becoming the patients. And the “lifting of patients” is not limited to nurses, but includes home health workers, nurses assistants, etc. It can also include correctional officers, orderlies and others who are required to lift people as part of their job. All of these workers are susceptible to a serious back injury or other type of injury with any lift.

So be aware. Be careful and be inquiring, if you’re required to “life a patient”, what equipment your employer is going to supply for the job. Just because the object is a “person” or patient, it doesn’t mean that using a hoist or lift is inappropriate.

And if you become one of the “patients” after attempting to make the lift that you, as a nurse, aid or home health worker have been trained to make – – call us. We have handled hundreds of cases and are intimately familiar with workers compensation laws.

While I know this will likely not cause a “industry change” overnight, perhaps just a bit of information will help you or someone you know make the right request for basic equipment which could prevent a nurse or someone else from becoming the next patient.

By: Trenton R. Garmon, J.D., M.A.

Based on Information discussed on National Public Radio:

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