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Nurses Ask for Help Lifting Heavy Patients

Nurses Ask for Help Lifting Heavy Patients

Cape Cod Times

June 24, 2009

A Cape Cod Hospital nurse told state legislators yesterday that the obesity epidemic is hurting American nurses — particularly in the neck, shoulders and back.

Speaking at a hearing on the proposed The Safe Patient Handling Act, registered nurse Beth Piknick said she developed a “never-ending back spasm” after 25 years of heaving lifting on the job.

Heavier patients mean nurses and nursing assistants are lifting 200- to 400-pound patients several times a day, often with no assistance, said David Schildmeier, spokesman for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which proposed the legislation calling for hospitals to provide a system to help nurses safely lift and handle patients.

In a phone interview, Cape Cod Hospital nurse and MNA president Piknik said she ended up having spinal fusion surgery as a result of her work-related injury. She says she doesn’t want other nurses to have to go through that.

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The average nurse lifts 1.8 tons in an eight-hour shift, said Piknick, who now works in endoscopy instead of intensive care. She said the proposed legislation would require that nurses and nursing assistants have access to lifts and other devices that would relieve the strain on their backs and shoulders.

The new Mugar building at Cape Cod Hospital comes equipped with ceiling lifts and other equipment, and the hospital is developing a safe-lifting plan, Piknick said.

The Safe Patient Handling Act would require other health care facilities in the state to develop their own plans, she said.

It’s no surprise that nurses have one of the highest rates of job-related muscular skeletal injuries since they are routinely required to lift more than warehouse workers, Schildmeier said.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association opposes the bill, favoring alternate legislation filed by Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, said MHA spokeswoman Catherine Bromberg. She called the MNA-backed legisation “one size fits all” and said Moore’s bill calls for evidence-based safe handling policies.

Four states have enacted similar legislation to the MNA bill in the past two years, Schildmeier said, adding that safe patient handling will cut down on worker’s compensation claims and staff turnover.

© YellowBrix 2009


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    Indikamirissage

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I also have the same experience. Sometimes we happen to ask for the help of the visitors of the patient. But some visitors do not like to help the nurse anyway.

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    ninelives

    over 4 years ago

    922 comments

    " Asking for Help / Lifting Heavy Patients" ** It is true that many healthcare facilities do provide
    Mechanical Lifts in the effort to reduce work-related injuries for staff,in addition to increasing
    the safety for patient transfers in / oob >chair.The downside to this is retirement facilities
    will not honor the use of this equipment. Reason being is that retirement villages on average
    provide home away from home,security,less restiction for residents > level of care is
    established on admission,use of RW and / or cane. Medicare does not cover the cost of the
    equipment,secondary to individualized need/usage," pay for cost,out of pocket".
    **So..what do you do when Mr.Smith,( 6' 4",200lbs.),fall in the bathroom and is stuck
    between the door and the bathtub? No lift available? The staff has to do the lifting."
    **Many Workman's Comp forms are filed,for sure! Any thoughts?"

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    big1green

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I hurt my back in physical Rehab and am on modified duty. Although it is healing, I don't think it will ever be as strong and I can't return to my career. I'll need to train for something else -- all due to the lack of a Hoyer lift and lift teams hanging out in the ICU rather than the physical reahab.

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    ladybug02

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Amem Amem, Amen............Having undergone back surgery myself in the past year. Worker's compensation is nothing compared to what we are making by being at work. There should be better equipment and more equipment per patient ratio to the floor. Most injuries we receive are permanent and places restriction on your earning, life, and total well being as a nurse.

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    lralkhatib

    over 4 years ago

    2094 comments

    why to spoil your back you can use mechnical lifter,patient slider.

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    jfresca

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Dead on CCathy. I've argued nursing needs more men just because of the strength needed. Big boy beds and EZ-stands are just the beginnings of a solution. I think caring for people of size, pc for want of better terminology, almost doubles the staffing needs because two people need to use these machines by law. Plus it takes two people to do most everything associated with moving these people safely and they had better be equally strong or the stronger or taller half is going to be hurt. I am lucky to be five foot eight, less stooping, lower center of gravity. I feel porters w/o nursing education in dermatology and wound care are lacking. Finally, there are just too few assisting machines per floor. The CNAs need more of these machines at their disposal.

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    chattycathy

    over 5 years ago

    32 comments

    Try working around ulcers(bedsores) with a hoyer lift. Not to mention because your short staffed to have to pull someone away to hep you maneuver someone into the lift. There needs to be bariatric hospitals. It is a epidemic. And unless your facility is equipped for the obese and morbidly obese, then you should pass on taking the patient.

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    suzeeq

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Nurses should not be lifting. The manoeuvres in question are called 'moving and handling' in the UK. We are not allowed to lift (officially anyway) except for one reason and that is fire. Facilities should be in place to assist moving patients always. We can also get help if necessary from the porters (transporters) Unfortunately this job is also often done by nurses instead in the US.

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    vickielee1970

    over 5 years ago

    808 comments

    It is past time intelligent plans for moving large patients safely. Hoyer lifts, mechanical lifts, electric lifts, whatever. You do not pay enough for me to ruin my back. It is the only one I have.

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