The Epidural Chair is used for Epidurals Spinal Blocks Thoracentesis and more
CategoriesPatient Handling

Epidural and Spinal Block Safety

Nurses in the labor and delivery unit have long faced the challenge of manual patient handling when positioning patients for epidurals. Risk of injury to both nurses and patients has caused concern amongst hospital staff, leading to a need for improved solutions.  The Epidural Positioning Device from SPH Medical is uniquely designed to assist with epidural and spinal block safety while also reducing risk of injuries to nurses and other hospital staff.

What is The Epidural Positioning Device (EPD)?

The Epidural Positioning Device (EPD) is an essential tool for nurses and medical professionals in providing effective epidural analgesia and other related procedures. It supports the patient in an ideal position that promotes lumbar, thoracic, and cervical flexion, enabling them to receive optimal access for a successful procedure.

Nurses that work in labor and delivery (L&D), operating rooms (ORs), and pain clinics face unique challenges when it comes to performing epidural and spinal block placements, lumbar puncture procedures, and thoracentesis. These specialized techniques require the nurse to be able to safely hold a patient in an appropriate position for extended periods of time.

Childbirth and Epidural Analgesia

When providing epidural analgesia, which is commonly used prior to or during childbirth, nurses are required to maintain static positions with their patients while managing equipment and medications.  In many cases the patient is set up with a bed side table and a stack of pillows to lean over. The bedside table often times does not lock in place!  This can pose a safety risk to both the nurse as well as the patient due to a potential falling patient and having to catch them.

Medicated patients may not be able to maintain the proper position for the duration of the procedure, increasing the nurse’s responsibility and physical workload to hold them in place.  During lumbar puncture or thoracentesis procedures, nurses are often required to perform the same static holds. Patients of size may require multiple staff members to help them remain in an appropriate sitting or lying position for epidural placement, which presents additional challenges for nursing teams. Moreover, it is important to remain aware that some patients may react unexpectedly and attempt to move during these procedures which could cause injury to a nurse.  As always, good teamwork and communication are essential in order to ensure safe outcomes for both the patient and staff, but certainly manual patient handling in these situations should be eliminated.  The engineering controls of using the Epidural Positioning Chair greatly improves nursing safety.

Moreover, using the EPD ensures that both patient and nurse are comfortable during procedures such as epidurals and spinal blocks.  The EPD helps minimize overexertion and discomfort experienced by nurses associated with manual patient handling.

Spinal Block Safety and the EPD

The use of EPD has now become the standard of care in multiple hospital departments. For example, it is used in surgery departments to support spinal blocks, labor and delivery units for epidermal placements, and even during thoracentesis. With its adjustable height and tilting head rest cushion the EPD easily accommodates various body types and offers a weight capacity of 600bs. It enables clinicians to manage patients with utmost safety and comfort when administering epidurals or any other related procedures.

All these features add up to create a well-rounded positioning device that is beneficial in many areas of healthcare. Its advantages are clear; it provides nurses and physicians with improved precision and accuracy when administering epidural analgesia, spinal blocks, lumbar punctures, other related procedures. As well as providing improved support and comfort for patients throughout the entire length of their procedure. The EPD is an essential tool for any medical professional who seeks to provide safe, efficient, and effective care in the hospital or clinic setting

In summary, the Epidural Positioning Device helps reduce risk of injury to both nurses and patients while also providing improved comfort during epidurals. This innovative product is a valuable addition to any labor and delivery unit. It provides an effective solution that will help keep nurses safe from overexertion while ensuring the best care for patients in need of epidural analgesia.

The EPD is available now at SPH Medical for purchase. Visit SPH Medical to learn more about how the Epidural Positioning Device can benefit your labor and delivery unit, surgery, or imaging department today!

SPH Medical's EPD Improves Safety
CategoriesPatient Handling

Safety During Spinal Blocks and Epidurals

The use of the EPD for patient positioning during spinal blocks and other procedures

An epidural or spinal block offers patients an option to remain awake and alert while receiving pain relief. They can even help patients to get back on their feet faster after surgeries and other procedures. Some doctors use epidurals to help patients acquire relief from chronic pain as well. An experienced medical professional blocks nerves by introducing an anesthetic, steroid or other medication via straight injection or a small catheter into the lower back. Epidural pain relief is often used during back, hip and knee surgery and the delivery of a baby. Yet, epidurals can pose risks to both patients and medical personnel. Read on to learn more about these risks and how staff at hospitals and surgical facilities are introducing safety during spinal blocks with an epidural positioning device (EPD).

How Common Is Epidural Pain Relief?

According to a Stanford study published in 2018, 71% of 17 million women received some form of spine-based pain relief during childbirth between 2009 and 2014. The researchers pulled the data from birth certificate records.

In a more recent 2021 study, also by Stanford, researchers learned that approximately 2.8 million pregnant women receive epidurals every year during delivery. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, approximately 50% of women who give birth at a hospital in a labor and delivery unit request epidural pain relief.

What Sort of Patient Injuries Can Take Place?

Accidental nerve damage is one of the most common injuries. Patients who experience nerve damage after an epidural often lose feeling, movement and strength in spots or extremities. Patients can also experience allergic reactions to medication, blood clots and infections.

Additionally, Stanford researchers found during the 2021 study that approximately 28,000 women across the nation experience an accidental puncture of the spinal dura mater membrane yearly. They tracked a small sample of women from the point of delivery up to 12 months and found that 74% of the new mothers experienced excruciating, debilitating headaches, known as post dural puncture headaches (PDPH), two months after delivery. By comparison, only 38% of mothers who didn’t experience an unintentional puncture had headaches. By six months, 52% of the first group still had headaches.

Of course, this type of injury and resulting headaches can happen to any patient who receives an epidural, including those who receive treatment through a surgery department. Other symptoms associated with PDPH include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, vision disturbances, lower pack or neck pain and physical stiffness.

What Risks Do Medical Personnel Face?

Anesthesiologists, nurses, operating room technicians and others must physically move patients into and out of position for an epidural. This type of movement often requires that they support a patient’s full weight with their bodies. They risk muscle and tissue strains and tears and back injury from attempting to lift too much weight or catching a falling patient. If a patient loses balance, they risk falling with the patient and injuries associated with falls. They must also maintain patients in a particular seated position during the procedure, which can put strain on their arms and back.

How Does an Epidural Positioning Device Provide Safety During Spinal Blocks?

An epidural positioning device, such as an epidural chair, makes it easier for staff in a surgery department or labor and delivery unit to perform safety during spinal blocks. Although called an epidural chair, the EPD is actually a portable tool that the nurse or technician places in front of the bed or table where the patient sits during the procedure.

They can position the patient with optimal cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal flexion. This means that the patient leans forward with a flexed spine while seated, which is the best position for a professional to perform the needle insertion to reduce the chance of an error. Instead of the nurse or technician holding the patient in the right position, the patient maintains the correct position by leaning against supports.


Stanford Medicine; Epidurals increase in popularity; Tracie White; June 26, 2018

Stanford Medicine; Post-epidural headaches can be more serious than previously known; Tracie White; August 2, 2021
Epidural: What It Is, Procedure, Risks & Side Effects; Cleveland Clinic medical professional; 10/14/2021

Epidural Positioning Chair in Labor and Delivery
CategoriesPatient Handling

Leading Epidural Safety

Patient and caregiver comfort and safety are at stake when performing spinal blocks before ortho surgeries and epidural placements for expectant mothers. These tasks are so common place in the Pre-Op area of the surgery department and on labor and delivery floors that nursing staff and nursing leadership often don’t consider the risk to their staff and patients.  Safety can be dramatically improved by using the original epidural positioning device. The device provides epidural safety by allowing nurses to position their patients restfully and properly, encouraging lumbar, cervical, and thoracic flexion.

What is an Epidural Positioning Chair?

Epidural positioning chairs came into existence about two decades ago. Invented by a renowned anesthesiologist, these chairs took some inspiration from modern-day massage chairs but have been designed to work in the clinical environment.  They’re created to offer stability, comfort, and accurate positioning in mind.  The chairs are used to ensure correct patient positioning during many different types of procedures. The chairs are widely used to position patients of size and obstetrics, increasing their comfort and safety.  The EPD or epidural positioner offers adjustable arm supports, a tilting and adjustable cushion for the face and head, and chest cushion that provides support and promotes the optimal flexion.  For patients using the EPD, their body position is stabilized which minimizes risk of errors by the anesthesiologist.  We’re finding new uses for the EPD in other areas of the hospital to support patients like the imaging department for Thoracentesis.  The adjustability of the EPD makes it adaptable to many different healthcare settings.

Where Is Epidural Positioning Device Used?

The device is primarily utilized in labor and delivery unit, pain centers, operating rooms, labor rooms, and surgery department units. The device has a variety of uses in the surgery department and also the device is used in medical centers where spinal and epidurals are conducted.  The EPD is the revolutionary alternative to manual positioning, which offers less stability, increases complication risks and puts staff at risk when trying to support or hold a patient in position.  The benefits of the device in departments such as labor and delivery unit where is often utilized have been measurable. The busy surgical department uses the device to prep patients for common ortho surgeries with spinal blocks, while nurses on the labor and delivery unit use it to position patients for epidural placement.  As mentioned above, the EPD has also found its way over to the imaging department where Ultrasound technicians are responsible for prepping patients for Thoracentesis.  The EPD is quickly becoming the standard of care in all three of these hospital departments.

What Are the Benefits of Epidural Safety?

Caregivers and nurses use epidural chairs in preoperative environments to position patients properly and seamlessly position their bodies steadily and comfortably. Unlike the manual task of positioning patients for a spinal block or epidural, which require holding stools or patients steadily so they don’t move an inch which clearly increases risk of injury to the caregiver, an epidural chair is comfortable and ergonomic. With these chairs, the risk of musculoskeletal injuries is significantly reduced by allowing the EPD to provide the support, not the nurse.  The following are the main benefits of using epidural positioning devices for epidural positioning.

  • The epidural chairs minimize strains, sprains and risk of musculoskeletal injuries
  • They encourage thoracic, lumbar, and cervical flexion, maintaining a stable and comfortable position
  • It maximizes patient comfort while some safe distancing for staff
  • Correct positioning increases the potential for needle placement accuracy, minimizing the risk of complications.
  • The EPD improves patient confidence, security, and satisfaction

Features of the Epidural Positioning Chair – the EPD

When considering the epidural positioning chair, you should consider the following features

  • Well-designed and portable with wheels that easily lock in place
  • A comfortable and adjustable face rest designed to attain and maintain perfect cervical flexion
  • Ergonomically designed armrest to offer enough stability and comfort to a patients’ arms
  • Lightweight and stable design
  • Adjustable and relaxingly designed footrest
  • 600lb weight capacity
  • Adjustable torso support to offer quality thoracic and lumbar flexion

The possible applications of epidural positioning chairs and the benefits the EPD can deliver to a healthcare facility are numerous. Patient and staff injuries and high risk of complications have been common issues medical facilities deal with regularly. With these efficient and effective positioning devices in place, the staff injury cases have been virtually eliminated while patient complications have significantly reduced. For the industry leading EPD used for Epidurals, spinal blocks and thoracentesis, along with any other safe patient handling to reduce workplace injuries, healthcare facilities must contact SPH Medical.

CategoriesPatient Handling

Epidural Safety for Patients and Staff

What is Epidural Safety?

Epidural Analgesia’s are used to reduce or completely eliminate pain. It is when the doctor inserts opioids or local anesthesia in their patient’s epidural space, which blocks the nerve roots. Staff and patients can be protected from injury when exercising epidural safety during this procedure.

Local anesthesia can include opioids such as morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl or drugs of a different class such as mepivacaine, lidocaine, bupivacaine, and ropivacaine. Mepivacaine and lidocaine can last up to 2.5 hours. Bupivacaine and ropivacaine are the options of choice for continuous epidural effusion because they last 4 to 7 hours. The walking epidural is a mix of narcotics, epinephrine, and local anesthesia that the doctor inserts into the patient’s epidural space.

Epidural Analgesia’s are often used during child birth to assist the woman in managing her pain. They are also utilized during surgery to numb the patient. Epidurals are often effective in blocking pain from the waist down. Their dosage is calculated by an anesthesiologist based on the type of epidural and how much of the patient needs to be numbed. They can eliminate pain for people in short term or long term situations.

Common Applications

Epidurals come in different types, depending on what they are being used for. Childbirth uses the standard epidural and the combined spinal epidural, which is also called the walking epidural. The walking epidural involves the administration needle coming in contact with the fluid around the spinal cord, whereas the needle does not meet the fluid around the spinal cord in the standard epidural.

The Benefits for Patients and Nurses

The benefits of having an epidural are plentiful. The walking epidural is beneficial because it allows for the mother to still have an awareness of the lower half of her body when giving birth. This allows the patient and nurse to coordinate the rhythm of her pushes. A walking epidural may or may not allow the mother to do cat and cow stretches. The standard epidural is beneficial because it completely eliminates feeling, which can avoid patients going into shock during invasive surgery, trauma, or child birth.

Epidural Safety and the Risks of Epidurals

The risks for patients when getting either type of epidural are low blood pressure, being mandated to stay in bed, and having to rely on a catheter. The catheter can cause problems such as the rare case of hematoma, epidural abscess, postdural puncture syndrome, and infection at the site of insertion.

Standard epidurals leave the patient with no feeling in the lower extremities, which can prevent the ability to shift in bed and the ability to move the baby into a more favorable position when birthing. Standard epidurals also involve the risk of local anesthetic toxicity, which can present with irritability, seizures, circumoral paresthesia, dysgeusia, cardiac dysrhythmias, tremors, and tinnitus.

The drugs used for epidurals can also have side effects on the patient. The opioids commonly used can cause nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, decreased levels of consciousness, and the excessive itchiness all over the body.

Nurses and medical personnel are at risk for getting injuries when administering epidurals as well. Positioning the patient correctly and supporting them while administering the epidural can be a potentially dangerous task. This has typically been a manual process of holding and supporting the patient. Manual patient handling is the cause of many back injuries for nurses across the country as well as strains and sprains. Musculoskeletal Disorders The Epidural Positioning Device is a key tool to keep the patient and doctor safe. It assists patients with maintaining the optimal position for their epidural to be administered. This is because it supports cervical, thoracic, and lumbar flexion. This positioning is essential because a patient can be paralyzed if they were to slip out of position while the needle was injected. The chair prevents doctors and staff from straining as well. It also allows patients more personal space, as opposed to traditional methods of epidural safety administration.

The EPD is used for Thoracentesis
CategoriesPatient Handling

Epidural Chair for Epidural Safety

Epidural Analgesia for Pain Relief During Labor and Delivery

Epidural injections or epidural anesthesia is defined as regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a specific area of the body. To perform an epidural injection, the anesthesiologist utilizes a hollow needle to place an epidural catheter, which is a small and flexible plastic tube, into the space between the spinal column and outer membrane of the spinal cord (epidural space). This is in the middle or lower back. The area that the catheter will be placed will first receive a local anesthetic. As a result of the epidural injection, the nerve messages are blocked, which in turn causes numbness and also epidural pain relief in the lower half of the body. In terms of applications, epidural anesthesia is usually used for legs and lower belly surgeries, for helping control pain after chest and belly related major surgeries, as well as for relieving pain during labor and delivery. This is a complicated procedure so epidural safety is extremely important.

With respect to labor and delivery, a lot of women decide on having the epidural injection in order to cope with the severe pain during the whole birthing process. In this case, an epidural pump is utilized where pain relief drugs are continuously administered through the epidural tube mentioned earlier. The pain during labor is relieved as long as the drugs are being constantly pumped into the body. When the pumping is stopped, the entire feeling will come back within a few hours.

Epidural Pain Relief and Epidural Safety

In addition to epidural pain relief, the main pros for having an epidural injection during labor and delivery is being able to rest and relax, which helps a lot of women have a positive birthing experience.  Another main advantage for taking an epidural is that it helps women be more alert, which in turn allows them to take an active role during their birthing process. Last, but not least, recent research shows that epidural injections may play a role in reducing postpartum depression in a certain number of females.

With the high frequency of epidural injections occurring in during labor and delivery units across the country, it’s important to consider the manual patient handling involved in positioning patients and the safety risks for patients and nurses alike.  A device that should be considered is the epidural chair or the epidural positioning device (EPD). Patented in 2001, the epidural positioning device reduces risk of injury to nursing staff and improves patient comfort. The EPD features a 180 degrees adjustable face rest, a six position adjustable armrest allowing patients to comfortably rest their arms, an adjustable torso support to promote spinal flexion, and a height adjustable foot rest.  The EPD is not just for labor and delivery. The EPD is currently considered the standard of care by surgical staff to administer spinal blocks prior to total hip and knee surgeries. With the functional design and obvious safety benefits the SPH Medical EPD has become the standard of care wherever spinals and epidurals are performed.

From a clinical perspective, anesthesiologists are using the epidural chair permits to encourage lumbar, thoracic and cervical flexion, positioning patients in both a correct and comfortable manner and importantly a stable, safe and secure position as well. The stable positioning supported by the Epidural Chair reduced the risks of complication while the anesthesiologist places the epidural. Thanks to the EPD, nursing staff are not having to hold patients in a static position, apply counter pressure, or manually handle patients. A number of recent studies have shown that the comfort and satisfaction levels of a large number of female patients that received the epidural analgesia were significantly higher when the epidural positioning device was used.

Reduce Risk of Injury in The Labor and Delivery Unit

Healthcare workers and patients are placed at risk of injury in the labor and delivery unit when staff members are manually handling patients.  Whether it is holding, lifting, boosting or pushing the patient in a proper position, the patient not being able to change his or her position and follow the staff instructions, or even the patient being nervous, unpredictable or maybe nauseous and dizzy, positioning patients can be a very challenging task.

In point of fact, when handling patients during epidural injections, a large number of nurses are at risk of micro tears in their joints and vertebral discs that could eventually lead to injuries. Fortunately, thanks to the epidural positioning device, nurses and healthcare workers not only avoid these safety risks and challenging situations, but are also free to perform other imperative tasks.

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