Safe patient handling & mobilization could help reduce healthcare worker injuries: 3 insights

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A safe patient handling and mobilization program correlates with improved work practices in healthcare facilities and fewer healthcare worker injuries, according to a study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The program used a systems-based approach and integrated safe patient equipment and practices into patient care plans. Researchers investigated 1,832 surveys of patient care workers to assess work practices and self-reported pain. They also examined an integrated employee payroll and injury database providing recordable injury rates collected two hospitals — one which implemented the safe handling and mobilization program and one which did not.

Here are three insights:

1. The study found significant decreases in recordable neck and shoulder injuries. These declined by 32 percent in the year following the program's implementation, according to a Reuters report.

2. Additionally, lifting and exertion as well as pain and inflammation injury rates also decreased.

3. At the hospital that did not implement the program, the injury rate changes were not statistically significant.

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