Reduce Risk of Injury and Infections with Air Transfer Technology
Implementing Air Transfer Technology Reduces the Risk of Infections and Staff Injury in Hospitals
Hospitals are typically viewed as place where state of the art healthcare services are provided. However hospitals today are still not the safest places to work. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic nurses and healthcare workers have been exposed to workplace injuries from manually lifting, moving and transferring patients. Infection prevention was always a top concern as well for both staff and patients. Hospitals and their infection prevention team has had their hands full preventing cross contamination and transmission of deadly viruses within the hospital. Some of these pathogens include C. difficile, MRSA, VRE, H1N1 and many more. The risks abound for patients and staff. According to the CDC, “On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.” One way to reduce both the risk of injury and Hospital Associated Infections is to streamline transfer and positioning processes with the Air Transfer Technology from SPH Medical.
The Air Transfer System is a multifaceted approach to solving the issues associated with lateral transfer. Lateral transfers are quite common in the hospital setting, and they are also one of the most dangerous patient-handling tasks. During a global pandemic, lateral transfers can be especially unnerving. When moving patients from one surface to another, there is a risk of contamination. As patients are moved around the hospital, they can leave a trail of germs that allows pathogens to spread. Healthcare associated infections are incredibly problematic. By the best estimates, one in every 31 patients will be infected each day.
The Air Transfer System can minimize the risk of HAI’s within a facility. These systems are designed for single-patient use. In other words, they are not shared from patient to patient. This is more important than ever. With increased concern over the spread of germs within hospitals, infection prevention protocols have become more stringent. Using single patient use devices is a further advancement in minimizing the risk of infection.
The injury risk to nursing staff associated with patient positioning and transfers may even be of greater concern. Compared to other work settings, hospitals are among the most dangerous places to work. The risk of injury is 5.9 per 100 workers. This compares to a risk of 2.6 per 100 workers in other industries. Much of this risk comes from pushing, pulling, boosting, holding, and transferring patients. Patients are moved all the time.
For example, an ICU nurse caring for four patients over a 12 hour shift performs an estimated 48 repositioning tasks that include boosting and turning every two hours! Now consider that patients are getting heavier and typically average 250-300lbs and the nurse is considerably smaller having to manually move these patients. Nurses are the coordinators of care often the ones responsible for repositioning, turning and transfers. It is not surprising, therefore, that 80 percent of nurses endure some injury on the job.
Manual Patient Handling
When a patient is moved in bed or is transferred from one surface to another, it is often a manual process. In other words, the patient must be lifted or pulled up in bed or slid over from a bed to a gurney. In some cases, a draw sheet may be used or some other type of friction reducing device may be used like the old fashioned plastic slider board that always hangs at the end of the hall. However, the draw sheets actually cause nurses to lift, and the plastic boards do not reduce friction sufficiently to reduce risk. The cumulative trauma from the predictable and repetitive patient positioning and transferring tasks have been documented as leading causes of injury to nurses.
This does not mean that injury is inevitable. Thanks to proven technology, it is possible to make transfers safer and reduce the risk of nursing injury and repositioning injury. Just consider the SPH Medical Air Transfer System. The single patient use Air Transfer Mats are part of this system from SPH Medical. The technology dramatically improves the efficiency of patient positioning and transferring while reducing risk of risk.
The New Standard of Care
The Air Transfer System utilizes the power of air to inflate the mattress and safely cradle the patient while releasing air through the bottom of the mattress to virtually eliminate friction. Nurses can easily reposition patients or float them from one surface to another. Air transfer technology is fast becoming the standard of care for surgery departments and the OR within Labor and Delivery Units. The Association of Peri-Operative Nurses, AORN, recently released their updated Safe Patient Handling tool kit and recommends its usage for all patients greater than 157 lbs that require lateral transfers.
Air Powered systems make repositioning a patient up in bed safer for nurses. Patients who are confined to bed, or bed bound, and unable to turn and move on their own must be turned and repositioned every two hours for wound prevention. In-bed repositioning poses risks similar to lateral transfers. In the past, two nurses would simply grab the bedsheet to boost the patient and lift or drag the patient up in bed. When repeated all throughout the day, the risk of injury is prevalent. The single patient use Air Transfer Mat stays underneath the patient to enable safe repositioning. With a simple flip of the switch the mat will inflate and nurses can boost a patient with ease, even heavy patients.
These are just a few examples of how Air Powered systems are so important to nursing safety. Patients who require total care put a real strain on a nurse’s physical health. While it is imperative to provide critical care for these patients, it is equally important to keep nurses safe in the process. Fortunately, the SPH Medical Air Transfer Technology can serve both purposes. Total care patients will be safer and more comfortable throughout their stay, and nurses and other hospital staff will be at a reduced risk of injury.
These risks are not overstated. In fact, if anything, there is not nearly enough attention given to the problems associated with a patient transfer process in the hospital. There are entire legislative solutions that have been passed to address the issue, and the CDC has taken a proactive approach to set infection prevention guidelines for both patient and staff safety.
The risks are real. Fortunately, it is possible to significantly impact the challenges of Healthcare Associated Infections and patient positioning with single patient use Air Transfer Mats from SPH Medical.