Nurses, patient care technicians and other caregivers have to handle some difficult duties. Some can lead to considerable injuries. One involves heavy lifting that comes with transferring patients from one space to another, such as a wheelchair to a bed. In some cases, simply trying to adjust the patient’s position on a bed to prevent pressure sores is the cause of the problem.
Overexertion is one of the most common causes of injuries in the health care field. These injuries can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, which are seven times more common in the health care industry than in all other industries.
All health care settings are impacted
The risks are present in all areas related to health care. Long-term care facilities, such as nursing home and rehab facilities, often have to handle transfers and patient mobility issues. Acute care facilities, including hospitals, also face many patients who can’t move on their own.
Home health care, outpatient facilities, imaging centers and many similar settings are likewise impacted.
Proper techniques are important
Anyone who is transferring patients has to use proper techniques. Even when the patient isn’t very heavy, moving incorrectly can lead to injuries. You should use your knees to lift the weight and not twist your body. Twisting while you lift can lead to soft tissue injuries.
On top of using the correct body mechanics, you should use lift-assisting devices, including lifting belts or mechanical devices, when they are available. This takes a lot of the stress off your body so that the patient can have a safe transfer and you don’t have to be as concerned about injuries.
When injuries occur
Workers in a health care setting might be tempted to ignore pain to continue caring for their patients. This isn’t a good idea because you never know what injuries you actually have. Instead, you need to get yourself checked out before you exacerbate the issue by continuing to work despite the injury.
If you do need medical care, workers’ compensation should cover those costs. Partial wage replacement is also possible if you have to miss work for a while due to the injuries. Be sure to report the incident and file your claim right away.