According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), back injuries from lifting, carrying, and lowering objects is the primary reason people file workman's compensation claims. Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants tend to have the most problems with back injuries from repetitive lifting motions. This is why it is of utmost importance to implement a policy known by all employees on proper lifting techniques. This guide will provide you with additional ways to avoid back injuries if you work in the medical field.
Know Your Patients
When you take care of patients every day, whether in a hospital setting or an elderly care facility, it is very important to know the level of care that is needed with each patient. Knowing how much assistance they need to perform the activities they need to do is half the battle to avoid a back injury. Review the patient's medical chart or ask a supervisor if a patient requires little, moderate, or total assistance with mobility and standing. The more dependent the patient is, the more measures the nurse needs to take to protect their backs.
Have the Proper Equipment
The hospital, elderly care facility, or other nursing facility is responsible for making sure nursing staff have the proper knowledge and equipment to give the patient adequate care. Making sure these crucial tools are well aware of and accessible can prevent unnecessary injuries. Patients with limited assistance needs may only need one member of the nursing staff and shoes with good traction. Residents in need of moderate assistance could need the help of two or more nurses, shoes with correct traction, and a gait belt. Fully dependent patients may require a mechanical lift that does all of the lifting for you.
Proper Body Mechanics
Knowing the patient's level of care and having the proper equipment are almost useless tools if you do not use your body the correct way. Regular training exercises and seminars should be provided for nursing staff to serve as a refresher course of known information as well as any new information available to help protect their backs.
Medical staff should always lift patients from a squatting position so as to use leg muscles instead of back muscles to lift. Once lifted, keep the patient close to your body and do not twist in any direction as twisting can result in pulled muscles. When sitting the patient down, do not bend at the waist, lower them using your leg muscles to reduce strain on smaller muscles in the back.
If the above tips are followed, back injuries in the nursing profession should be able to be kept at a minimum. Sometimes accidents happen, but with the right information and equipment, there should be no excuse for nursing staff to have an injury. Talk to a local workers compensation lawyer, such as at Freedman, Wagner, Tabakman & Weiss, for any more help or information you may need.