Reduce nursing injuries and achieve cost savings with Air Transfer Mats
CategoriesPatient Handling

Embracing AORN Safe Patient Handling Recommendations: The Power of Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Devices

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has been at the forefront in advocating for safe patient handling practices. They have developed comprehensive guidelines to minimize the risk of muscle fatigue and potential musculoskeletal injuries in healthcare professionals. Central to these recommendations is the use of advancements such as air assisted lateral transfer devices.

The Role of Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Devices

Air assisted lateral transfer devices are revolutionizing patient handling in Operating Rooms (ORs). These devices significantly reduce the physical strain on OR staff during patient transfers, a common task that has been traditionally associated with high injury rates.

Single-patient use air assisted devices offer several benefits. They help in the safe lateral positioning of patients during procedures, such as total hip surgeries. These devices are considered transfer devices and are used to move patients on and off of the OR table.  Risk of injury to OR staff is major concern with the volume of surgical cases and predictable lateral transfers that occur.  Along with the increasing morbid obesity in the general population, the surgery department is also seeing this increase in average patient weight.  Additionally, single patient use air transfer mats enhance infection control, an essential consideration in the OR setting.  In many cases, the SPU air transfer Mat can be placed on the table prior to surgery and then conveniently inflated post surgery to transfer the patient off the table.

AORN Algorithms: The Key to Safe Patient Handling and Lateral Transfers

As a globally recognized authority in perioperative nursing, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) plays a pivotal role in ensuring safe and effective patient handling. Their meticulously designed algorithms provide healthcare professionals with a roadmap for assessing and planning patient handling tasks, thus minimizing workplace injuries and errors.

AORN Algorithms: A Deep Dive

At the heart of the AORN’s Safe Patient Handling and Movement Guidelines is a comprehensive algorithm that guides healthcare professionals through a step-by-step process. This algorithm begins with an initial patient evaluation to determine their mobility status and any specific handling requirements.

The algorithm then moves on to outline the appropriate manual handling techniques or mechanical lift devices required based on the patient’s condition. This structured approach ensures that each patient receives personalized care tailored to their specific needs, while also safeguarding the health and safety of healthcare professionals.

One of the critical recommendations in the AORN algorithm is the use of Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems when dealing with patients who are unable to assist and weigh more than 157lbs. The adoption of these systems can dramatically reduce the risk of injury to both patients and healthcare professionals, contributing to safer and more efficient patient handling.

Embracing Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems

Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems are not just about safety; they are also about cost-effectiveness. By reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries among healthcare professionals, these systems can help healthcare facilities avoid costly worker compensation claims and maintain a healthy, productive workforce.

Moreover, these systems improve patient comfort during transfers, leading to better patient experiences and potentially higher patient satisfaction scores. It’s a win-win situation for all involved!

Success Stories

The implementation of the AORN’s Safe Patient Handling and Movement Guidelines, along with the use of Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems, has already yielded impressive results in numerous healthcare facilities. For instance, a study conducted at the Tampa Veterans Affairs Hospital demonstrated a significant reduction in patient handling injuries following the adoption of these guidelines.

Prioritizing Patient Safety

In conclusion, the AORN’s Safe Patient Handling and Movement Guidelines provide an invaluable resource for healthcare professionals dedicated to improving patient safety and reducing workplace injuries. As we continue to strive for excellence in patient care, let’s ensure that these guidelines and recommended technologies become an integral part of our everyday practice.

Why Staying Up-to-Date Matters

In the rapidly evolving field of healthcare, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and devices is not just an advantage, it’s a necessity. It ensures that healthcare professionals can provide the highest quality of care while protecting their own health and safety.

The AORN guidelines provide a roadmap for integrating these innovative devices into practice. By following these guidelines, healthcare professionals can reduce the risk of injury, improve patient safety, and enhance overall surgical outcomes.

Looking Ahead

As we move forward, let’s continue to embrace these advancements. The AORN’s Safe Patient Handling recommendations, coupled with the use of innovative devices like air assisted lateral transfer systems, offer a promising pathway towards safer and more efficient patient care practices. By prioritizing both patient and provider safety, we can create a healthier and more productive healthcare environment for all.

Air Powered Transfer and Positioning System
Categoriesair transfer systems

Lateral Transfers and The Risk of Positioning a Patient in Hospitals

You may think hospitals are safe workplaces, but they are actually among the most dangerous. In fact, a study by OSHA found that, at hospitals, 7 out of 100 full-time employees sustain an injury. Medical staff in hospitals must perform strenuous physical activity all day long. In both the ICU and OR, the medical team handles lateral transfers of patients who require total care. It is not unusual for a nurse to transfer a patient from bed to CT table, OR table, gurney, and back again. Nursing staff perform this task dozens of times, along with patient repositioning, turning, and boosting, making it clear why nurses are prone to repositioning injuries.

What are lateral transfers?

Lateral transfers and patient repositioning involve moving a patient from one surface to another, like a bed to a gurney. Most of this work is done manually by a few medical staff members, placing them at risk for injury. In fact, the American Nursing Association estimates that nurses move an average of 1.8 tons per eight-hour shift. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the high movement level among medical professionals puts them at risk for 31.1 percent more musculoskeletal disorders. Due to the friction between sheets and boards, this makes this task unsafe. Improper positioning can lead to injury or even death for the patient. All departments of the hospital perform transfer and repositioning tasks. The intensive care unit, emergency room, radiology, medical units, and surgery are among them.

The Costs and Consequences of Injury Due to Lateral Transfers

The consequences of occupational musculoskeletal injuries are detrimental to nurses. Beside the cost of medical expenses, litigation, disability compensation, and nursing injuries are also expensive due to absenteeism, chronic pain, functional disability, and turnover. Approximately 20% of nurses leave direct patient care jobs for safety reasons. According to statistics, the healthcare industry spends roughly $20 billion annually on direct and indirect costs associated with back injuries. In addition, employees who suffer from pain and fatigue may be less attentive, less productive, more prone to further injuries, and may consequently have a negative effect on the health and safety of others.

The Federal Government is aware of the increased risk of repositioning injury and nursing injury in the medical industry. In 2015, the national government passed new legislation governing patient handling to protect nurses and healthcare workers. This Act aims to make healthcare facilities a safer place to work for caregivers.

There are options to reduce forces and the risk of injuries, making it safe for medical staff. One option is air transfer devices. In this article, we will define the devices and highlight their benefits.

What are Air-Powered Lateral Transfer Systems?

An air-powered system is used to elevate patients in bed, reducing another potentially hazardous task known as “boosting a patient” or repositioning. The system comprises a hose, an inflatable pad, an easy-to-use air supply, and a power cord. A pump is inserted into the pad when the patient is positioned on the air-powered lateral transfer system. As soon as the mattress is inflated, the patient can be moved. The air-powered systems include straps that hold the patient securely during lateral transfers. They have convenient handles that make it easy for nurses to transfer patients between surfaces.

In most cases, patients’ lifting or pulling weight is reduced to about ten percent of their body weight. There is virtually no friction under the pad when moving from one surface to another, so moving patients can be done with minimal caregiver exertion. This reduces nurse injuries.

Benefits of SPH Medical’s Air Transfer System

A hospital’s primary concern is protecting the long-term health of its employees. Air-powered systems provide a solution that requires less labor from hospital staff. Two staff members can transfer a patient safely rather than waiting for at least 4 staff members to perform the transfer. The air-powered systems also provide a safer, less strenuous, and more dignified way for patients to be handled. The Air Transfer System allows patients to float between surfaces easily. There is less risk of bruises, bumps, or manual handling during transfers. Using these systems can drastically reduce the amount of stress on nursing staff. This reduces the risk of injuries from predictable and repetitive patient handling tasks. Healthcare facilities are investing more in disposable pads considering the recent COVID-19 pandemic concerns.

Single Patient Use Air Transfer Mattress

Having a single patient use air transfer mattress is the backbone of any safe patient handling program. Why? It solves the high-risk and high-frequency manual patient handling tasks. This mat aims to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections by reducing cross-contamination and solving the laundry dilemma (things frequently get lost in the laundry or take days/weeks to return to the unit!) It creates a thin air cushion beneath an inflated mattress that reduces friction and allows patients to float. The benefits include:

  • Inventory management is easier
  • Accessible to nurses
  • Eliminates the need to do laundry
  • Reduce the risk of infection and cross-contamination
  • Proven and cost-effective.
  • Breathable and can remain under patients for a long time


Transferring patients is one of the most common tasks performed by hospital personnel. This can be tricky work, especially when the forces involved in these lateral transfers are high, posing a significant risk of musculoskeletal injury for caregivers. Caregivers can avoid injury by using friction-reducing devices like the SPH Medical Air Transfer and Positing System. These devices reduce the force required to complete the transfer and make this task much safer.

Reposition Turn and Transfer with the SPH Medical Air Transfer System
CategoriesPatient Handling

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.

Reduce Injuries and Infections with SPH Medials Air Transfer Mat
CategoriesPatient Handling

Lateral Transfer Matt: The Dignity and Dangers Of Lateral Transfers

The gold standard of Safe Patient Handling today is the single patient use Air-Assisted Lateral Transfer Matt.  This article will provide some background about the daily risks faced by nursing staff when handling patients and the growing trend to implement Safe Patient Handling programs that include the SPH Medical Lateral Transfer Matt.

Medical Professionals Carry Out Dozens of Lateral Transfers Per Day

Though caregivers and medical professionals carry out dozens of lateral transfers per day, this procedure is still far from perfect. In other words, while this practice is commonplace in hospitals, it poses serious risks and challenges. Simply put, lateral transfers involve moving a patient from one surface to another. Since several departments are tasked with performing lateral transfers, countless professionals are susceptible to a nursing injury or repositioning injury. Patients are equally vulnerable to these injuries, which is why lateral transfers are notoriously precarious.

When performing a traditional lateral transfer, nurses reposition patients using the sheet that’s underneath them. However, if there’s limited personnel, this isn’t a viable option. To compensate for insufficient manpower, a plastic board is used to streamline the process. Unfortunately, this approach leaves a lot of room for error, making it inefficient and unpredictable. In essence, if there isn’t enough manpower or resources available, affairs become exceedingly dangerous. After all, patients and caregivers shouldn’t have to rely on their physical abilities to oversee successful lateral transfers.

Lateral transfers are so unsafe that medical professionals are 31 percent more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain.  Pain is often a sign of some injury that has occurred and should not be ignored.  With the repetitive nature of lateral transfers and the fact that patients are continuing to get heavier, nurses, techs, CNA’s and transporters are all at risk of a severe back, neck or shoulder injury which may be career ending. Additionally, these handling injuries are emotionally and financially draining, causing both medical professionals and hospitals distress. If a patient or caregiver has been seriously injured, hospitals could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover medical expenses.  Sound like motivation?  To prevent caregiver injuries, physical discomfort, and to avoid significant financial losses, laws have been passed to improve these practices. Yet, additional efforts need to be made to keep nurses and patients out of harm’s way.

To expedite the adoption of Safe Patient Handling practices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study surrounding Safe Patient Handling programs. According to their research, hospitals that employ proven lateral transfer procedures with the appropriate assistive devices, including an Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Matt, are 73 percent less likely to subject patients and nurses to handling injuries. This study served as a catalyst for the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act. The House introduced this bill in 2015, and it requires the Department of Labor to improve patient handling, mobility, and injury prevention standards so that fewer transfer and repositioning injuries occur.

Improving Safety with the Lateral Transfer System

In the hopes of breathing improved safety, efficiency, and security into lateral transfers, air-assisted systems were created. AirPal birthed this invention, but other brands have developed their own versions of this modern device. HoverMatt, for example, manufactures air-assisted systems, and their business has expanded exponentially after developing the disposable or single patient use transfer mattress.  Not only do air-assisted systems reduce friction, but they also provide added support and comfort.  As a result, it’s easier for nurses to boost, reposition and transfer patients, making everyone less vulnerable to strains, sprains, and career ending back injuries.  At SPH Medical, we make this equipment easily accessible so that more hospitals can implement safe patient handling wherever lateral transfers and positioning is occurring.  With more than 15 years of experience implementing Air Transfer Systems, the team at SPH Medical offers expertise in this area to its customers.  SPH Medical offers a complete line of single patient use Air Transfer Mattress options and reusable Air Transfer Mattress options in all sizes compatible with the most common air supplies on the market.

Assisted Transfer Equipment: Is It Worth It?

Air transfer equipment is preferred for its ability to reduce risk of injury and the fast adoption rate by nursing staff. Luckily, the perks don’t end there. In addition to promoting optimal safety, air-assisted systems also make patients more comfortable. Without air transfer equipment, lateral transfers can cause significant discomfort. For patients of size, they may feel embarrassed that so many people have to be involved in a lateral transfer just to move them.  The air-assisted lateral transfer matt gives the patient a sense of dignity. Air-assisted transfer systems do an excellent job of eliminating risks and uncertainty, which is why this equipment is an efficient alternative to old fashioned manual handling practices.

Best of all, patients say that the air transfer matt offers a floating sensation. With that said, it’s evident how much this equipment streamlines the patient transfer process and improves patient throughput in busy departments like the OR and Labor and Delivery. Above all else, when caregivers have the tools they need to ensure patient safety and their own safety, it bodes well for a pleasant experience for all including increased patient satisfaction. Thanks to air-assisted systems, gone are the days of risking a back or shoulder injury while repositioning patients. Instead, you receive a safe and efficient solution to reduce lateral transfer risks.

Contact SPH Medical to get a quote for the Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Matt and realize the benefits of Safe Patient Handling today.

CategoriesPatient Handling

Patient Positioning and Nursing Injuries

How Patient Positioning and Lateral Transfers Increase Risk of Injury to our Nurses

Patient positioning in a hospital, surgery center, or medical clinic occurs twenty four hours a day and every day. Patients are constantly sliding down in bed and therefore need to be boosted back up, turned, bathed, and transferred. In this article we’re going to review one of the most common and predictable patient positioning tasks, a lateral transfer. Lateral transfers occur in many inpatient hospital units throughout the day. Whether patients are headed into surgery or to the imaging center, numerous departments oversee lateral transfers. In layman’s terms, a lateral transfer consists of transferring a patient from one surface to another. Unfortunately, the unpredictability of this procedure leaves a lot of room for error. As a result, both medical professionals and patients become susceptible to injuries. Specifically, hospital staff are at risk of MSDO’s due to the high frequency of this task and the increasing weight of patients. Lateral transfers have become so dangerous that more constructive alternatives are being developed.

In most cases, nurses perform lateral transfers by using the sheet that’s underneath the patient. If there aren’t enough hands on deck, a plastic board can help offset insufficient manpower. However, this method is far from flawless, and it doesn’t reduce enough friction to prevent a nursing injury or repositioning injury from occurring. Strains and sprains are commonplace but more serious career ending back injuries are occurring. Since a successful lateral transfer hinges entirely on physical effort and effective communication, these practices have been deemed high risk.

In fact, these techniques are so ineffective that medical professionals are over 30 percent more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses are the number one at risk profession for a back injury with an average of 7 lost work days per injury.  Manual Patient Handling injuries are the primary culprits for this debilitating condition. While occupational injuries aren’t ideal for workers, they can be especially detrimental to hospitals. Not only do injuries leave their personnel indisposed, but these mishaps can also prove costly, requiring hospitals to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover injury costs, and that’s just the direct cost of these injuries.  d

In the hopes of addressing this ongoing issue, the Bureau of Labor Statistics held a study on safe patient handling programs. Their research showed that hospitals with proper lateral transfer procedures were 73 percent less likely to put their nurses or patients at risk. With this compelling evidence, the House made the noble decision to draft the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act in 2015. At its core, this bill seeks to protect nurses from musculoskeletal disorders by requiring hospitals to reinforce their mobility, injury prevention, and patient handling standards.

The Future Of Safe Lateral Transfers

To combat the number of repositioning injuries, companies started introducing air-assisted transfer systems. AirPal is touted as the brains behind this invention and is renowned for being the first to design this revolutionary technology. With the efficacy of air-assisted transfer systems, companies like HoverMatt were eager to make this resource more accessible, leading to increased supply of the disposable or single patient use transfer mattress.

Air Powered Transfer System

In essence, these systems reduce friction while offering unmatched safety for both the patient and the caregiver. As a result, they improve ergonomics, reduce risk of injury to nurses, and improve patient satisfaction and safety during lateral transfers. Thanks to the incredible ability to reduce friction for patients of all sizes, fewer people are needed to oversee lateral transfers. To ensure that patients and staff members remain out of harm’s way, SPH Medical implements air-assisted transfer systems in hospitals all across the country.  SPH Medical is helping to make air assisted lateral transfer systems available to all hospitals at affordable prices.

Reasons To Choose Air-Assisted Transfer Equipment

Air-assisted transfer systems are highly sought-after for their ability to reduce handling injuries, but they offer more benefits than that. In addition to promoting safe practices, this cutting-edge equipment also instills comfort into the patient experience. In other words, patients aren’t as vulnerable to the unease and discomfort that accompanies traditional lateral transfers. With this modern equipment, transitioning a patient from point A to point B is seamless.  This can improve hospital efficiencies and throughput further reducing costs.

According to patients, air-assisted transfer systems give the illusion and feeling that they’re floating from one surface to the next. What’s more, this streamlined process makes patients feel like less of an inconvenience. When caregivers have to exert tremendous energy to move a patient, it can trigger self-consciousness especially for the Bariatric patient.  The dignity and care of Bariatric patients is an important consideration for hospitals across the country.  In her book The Challenges of Caring for the Obese Patient, Sue Gallagher states, “Even the most compassionate caregiver may be reluctant to provide adequate care [to a patient with obesity] because of the threat of caregiver injury.”  Fortunately, air-assisted equipment reduces self-doubt of caregivers and patients alike, bringing patients great peace of mind while allowing medical professionals to provide exceptional care.



Gallagher S. The Challenges of Caring for the Obese Patient. Edgemont, PA: Matrix Medical Communications; 2005

Air Powered Transfer System
CategoriesPatient Handling

Lateral Transfer and Positioning Risk in Hospitals

The Dangers Of Lateral Transfers

Simply put, a lateral transfer involves moving patients from surface to surface, including a bed or hospital cart. These transfers pose increased risks to both patients and caregivers. Lateral transfers are performed throughout the day in various departments, ranging from ICU to imaging. Due to the high frequency of lateral transfers and patient positioning the probability of a patient or nurse sustaining an injury increases exponentially if the appropriate Safe Patient Handling techniques are not employed.  Patients that require comprehensive care often can’t move from point A to point B on their own, requiring the nursing staff to oversee their movements. When moving from one surface to another, matters become even more complicated.

In most cases, nurses use the sheet underneath the patient to transfer them. If there are limited staff members available, a plastic board is typically used as an alternative. While this device helps, it doesn’t reduce enough friction to combat the total force required. In essence, when handling a later transfer, nurses must rely on their strength and collaborative efforts to conduct a successful and safe transfer.

By leaving these affairs up to chance, caregivers and patients become more susceptible to a nursing injury or repositioning injury. With hospital injury rates on the rise, it’s imperative for staff members to have safer, easier, and more effective solutions at their disposal. Research shows that medical professionals are over 30 percent more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain due to handling injuries. While these injuries are painful, they can also be costly, setting hospitals back hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the scope of the claim.

According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitals that implement safe patient handling programs are 73 percent less likely to expose their staff to handling injuries. These favorable statistics prompted the arrival of the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act. This bill was introduced in 2015, and it states that the Department of Labor must establish new standards on mobility, patient handling, and injury prevention to safeguard medical professionals from musculoskeletal disorders.

The Introduction Of Air-Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems

In response to the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act, companies like HoverMatt have developed air-assisted transfer systems. AirPal was one of the first to develop this cutting-edge technology, and this invention has paved the way for secure repositioning procedures. These transfer systems are designed to reduce friction by providing additional support under a mattress.

They also serve to boost patients up in bed and eliminate the manpower required to move patients. Touted as the gold standard, air-assisted lateral transfer systems breathe ease and security into repositioning patients. To improve patient safety and lessen caregiver injuries, we at SPH Medical implement these systems into hospitals.

The Benefits Of Air-Assisted Transfer Equipment

In addition to promoting optimal safety, air-assisted transfer systems also enhance patient comfort. This equipment is gentle and seeks to improve a patient’s hospital stay or in-home care. Moreover, patients aren’t subjected to the discomfort that comes with lifting them. Thanks to these revolutionary systems, patients aren’t raised but rather smoothly pulled from one surface to another. In fact, many describe it as floating from one position to the next.

This modern technology is also advantageous to patients because it causes less of a disruption. Traditional lateral transfers demand many helping hands, which can make patients feel like a burden. Fortunately, air-assisted transfer systems are easier to handle, meaning fewer medical professionals are required. Not only does this streamline operations, but it also brings patients great peace of mind. Improve the patient experience, protect caregivers, and lessen workplace injuries when you opt for air-assisted lateral transfer systems.

CategoriesPatient Handling

Lateral Transfers: Know The Risks

The Risks of Repositioning a Patient

Caregivers and medical professionals perform countless lateral transfers per day. This procedure is best described as repositioning a patient from one surface to another. With the uncertainty of lateral transfers, both nurses and patients become vulnerable to handling injuries. Whether a patient’s in the ICU or being taken to surgery, several departments are responsible for conducting lateral transfers. With that said, the potential for a nursing injury or repositioning injury to occur increases significantly. Patients that require total care are even more susceptible to these injuries.

Typically, nurses move patients from one position to the next using the sheet underneath them. However, if there’s limited staffing, a plastic board is used to facilitate the process. Though this alternative can ease the physical effort required, it’s not a foolproof plan. In fact, it doesn’t reduce enough friction to compensate for the lack of human resources, resulting in precarious and often dangerous affairs. Simply put, when nurses reposition a patient, the success of a lateral transfer is contingent upon their combined strength and communication.

Unfortunately, these ineffective solutions predispose medical professionals to musculoskeletal disorders. Studies show that healthcare workers are 31 percent more likely to endure musculoskeletal pain caused by handling injuries. In addition to being debilitating, these injuries can also cost hospitals a pretty penny. Depending on the extent of the claim, hospitals may have to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in injury costs.

To shed light on how unreliable these practices are, the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study on safe patient handling programs. Their findings concluded that hospitals that implement secure lateral transfer procedures are 73 percent less likely to experience nursing or repositioning injuries. Using this information, the House introduced the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act in 2015. In essence, this bill states that the Department of Labor is required to protect medical professionals from musculoskeletal disorders by improving mobility, patient handling, and injury prevention standards.

How Lateral Transfers Repositioning Risks Are Being Solved

With the growing prevalence of handling-related injuries, air-assisted transfer systems were developed. At the forefront of these developments was AirPal. This company is touted as the first to introduce air-assisted transfer systems, and their invention inspired others to follow suit. HoverMatt, for instance, offers air transfer systems that breathe security and physical ease into repositioning patients.

In addition to reducing friction, these systems also provide much-needed support. With these added elements, less manpower is required to oversee a safe lateral transfer. It also makes it easier for nurses to boost patients up in bed. To promote patient and staff safety, we at SPH Medical implement these cutting-edge systems into hospitals.

Why Choose Assisted Lateral Transfers Equipment?

With its vast benefits, more caregivers and hospitals are opting for this modern equipment. Most notably, air-assisted transfer systems eliminate handling risks, but they also provide a more comfortable experience for the patient. In other words, with air-assisted transfer equipment, patients don’t have to endure any discomfort. Traditional lateral transfers are often accompanied by unease and difficulty. With this savvy technology, a smooth transition is promised from one surface to the next.

With assistance from air transfer systems, patients say they feel as if they’re floating. Above all else, air-assisted transfer systems streamline repositioning matters, making the patient feel like less of a burden. When multiple hands are required to carry out this task, it can make the patient uncomfortable and self-conscious. Fortunately, air-assisted equipment brings patients great peace of mind, allowing them to receive optimal in-home or hospital care.

CategoriesPatient Handling

Solving Lateral Transfer and Positioning Risk in Hospitals

Solving Lateral Transfer and Positioning Risk in Hospitals

A Lateral transfer and patient repositioning are typical tasks of nursing staff around the globe. In fact, it’s estimated by the American Nursing Association that the average nurse moves around 1.8 tons during a full eight-hour shift. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this immense amount of movement has resulted in medical professionals being at a 31.1 percent increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

The Federal Government has noted the increased workplace harm that those in the medical industry undergo due to lateral transfer and repositioning injury. In 2015, the national government passed new legislation regarding patient handling in the form of the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act. This Act is geared towards shifting healthcare facilities into creating a safer workplace environment for caregivers.

The Biggest Problems With Lateral Transfers

A traditional lateral transfer is performed hundreds of times a day throughout all hospital departments, including ICU, imaging, emergency, surgery, and other medical units. Total care patients are unable to move their body weight from one surface to another. This situation results in the nursing staff physically moving the patient.

This move is performed in one of two ways. With the first method, the nursing staff grabs ahold of a sheet that is positioned underneath the patient. All staff members lift up on the draw sheet and physically lift the patient to another surface. In cases where fewer staff members are present, nurses use a plastic board and pull the draw sheet underneath the patient onto the other surface.

Both of these methods require a great deal of movement and strength from the nursing staff. This typically results in nursing injury in the form of back pain. With so many medical staffers undergoing musculoskeletal injuries, it has become clear that manual patient handling tasks need to be replaced with more efficient methods.

The Introduction of Air Powered Transfer Equipment

In recent years, companies like hovermatt and others have introduced air powered transfer technology. These transfer systems use a thin cushion of air under a mattress that is inflated. This system works to reduce friction and provides a floating action during patient lateral transfer.

These air powered transfer systems can be easily used for both lateral patient transfers and patient repositioning, also known as boosting a patient. The inflatable mattress transfer systems are intended to be left underneath the patient during their hospital stay.

A Look At The Many Benefits Of Air Powered Systems

It’s a wide concern of any medical facility to properly protect the long-term health of their staff. Lateral transfers and patient repositioning are well-known issues that create chronic health problems for medical staff members. Air powered systems have provided a quality solution that allows less manual labor on the part of a hospital’s medical staff. This works to reduce the overall risk of chronic injuries to caregivers.

When it comes to patients, air powered systems are providing a more comfortable and safer experience. Instead of being forcefully heaved from one surface to another under the manual power of medical staff, patients can be easily floated from one surface to the next. This makes the transferring and repositioning experience much smoother for patients.

In addition, air powered systems don’t require the patient to be lifted off of any surface. Rather, the inflatable mattress can be smoothly pulled from one surface to the next.  This makes the lateral transfer experience much safer for the patient as there is less risk of bumps, bruises, or manual handling during transfers.

Air powered systems are tremendously changing the way that medical staffers perform repositioning and lateral transfers throughout their day. These systems drastically reduce the amount of strain that is placed on the nursing staff. From a patients perspective, they provide a safer and more comfortable experience for patients.

Reduce Nursing Injuries
CategoriesPatient Handling

Reducing Risk of Nursing Injury During Lateral Transfer

Nurses Perform Transfers

It is a scenario that plays out in the hospital setting every day. A patient must move from a bed to a gurney for treatment or testing. Once the patient reaches his or her destination, it is time for another lateral transfer. SPH Medical is lowering the risk of nursing injury during lateral transfers.

When a patient is mobile, this is not too difficult. In many cases, nurses and other medical professionals have to move the full weight of the patient without any assistance. According to the American Nurses Association, the average nurse can transfer 1.8 tons during an eight-hour shift. As a result, the most common nursing injury complaint involves musculoskeletal damage. Nursing staff members are almost twice as likely to suffer from back injuries than employees in other industries.

Increased Risk to Nursing Injury

Two trends are making this problem even worse. First, fewer people are going into careers as nurses or nursing assistants. Second, American patients are getting heavier and come to the hospital with lower levels of mobility. The combination of these two developments means that fewer staff members may be trying to move more weight each day. In fact nurses are more likely to manually lift move or transfer a 300 pound patient with little to no assistance. In the construction world, a contractor would get a fork lift or the appropriate hoist to lift this much weight and both OSHA and their safety guidelines may require it!

For the medical staff, this extra effort leads to injuries of the lower back, neck and shoulders. These are not low frequency tasks. In 2017, nursing staff reported almost 20,000 musculoskeletal injuries that required days away from work or lost work days. For the health care industry, injuries lead to increased insurance claims, workers’ compensation costs, and a long list of indirect costs that affect staff morale, patient satisfaction and more.

Legislative Solutions to Reduce Nursing Injuries

In response to this situation, states like California and Washington have passed legislation to prevent workplace injuries in the health care field. These states make it a requirement that every hospital develops a plan for safe patient handling. In 2015, federal legislators introduced the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act in both the House and Senate to make this a national policy. Unfortunately, they have not acted on the bill at this time.

The good news is that facilities that introduce comprehensive safety measures around patient handling and lateral transfer benefit from the program. While there is an up-front cost to the new equipment, there are long-term savings for the institution. An $800,000 safe lifting program implemented by Stanford University Medical Center resulted in a 2.2-million dollar savings over five years. They saw a drop in workers’ compensation claims as well as a lower incidence of pressure ulcers in patients with the resulting treatment costs. Members of SPH Medical’s team were involved with Stanford’s well recognized program from the very beginning.

The Benefits of Air-Assisted Lateral Transfer Systems

Historically, the the most common means to transfer patients from gurney to bed was by using a transfer sheet or plastic slide board. Both of these modalities can cause friction and put undue pressure on the patient and over exertion or physical strain on the medical staff. Thankfully, there are devices available that can ease this process for everyone involved and significantly reduce the risk of nursing injury.

At first glance, an air-assisted device like the Air Powered Lateral Transfer system looks like a regular air mattress. However, there is a fundamental difference. When inflated, air continually blows into the mattress. Small holes in the bottom create a layer of air that minimizes friction. According to the makers of the Hovermatt system, this air cushion reduces the force required to move a patient by 80 to 90 percent and greatly reduces the risk of a nursing injury. A task that needed four medical staff members can be done safely by two.

Because the system can sit underneath a patient at all times, it will also reduce the risk of a repositioning injury. Nursing staff frequently must boost up a patient who has slipped down in his or her bed. An air-assisted transfer system makes this a stress-free task.

Using an air-assisted transfer system is beneficial to overall patient care. Transfers are faster and safer. These qualities matter when a patient is dealing with pain. Minimizing unnecessary motion keeps patients more comfortable.

SPH Medical specializes in equipment to promote handling patients safely and efficiently. Incorporating air powered lateral transfer solutions will benefit patients, staff and the entire medical organization by reducing costs, improving efficiencies, and most importantly improving patient care and patient satisfaction. Contact SPH Medical today to reduce nursing injuries in your facility.

SPH Medical EPD 4
CategoriesInfection Prevention,  Patient Handling

The EPD and Air Transfer System Improve Patient and Staff Safety

SPH Medical is Improving Safety for Hospital Staff and Patients

SPH Medical is here to improve patient staff safety in labor and delivery and surgical units with the Epidural Positioning Device and the air transfer system.

COVID-19 is putting our healthcare workers at risk. Manually handling patients under normal conditions is known to put our nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers at risk. Now more than ever hospital staff need to have the right tools to help move, support, lift and transfer patients. The EPD and air powered lateral transfer system improve patient and staff safety especially during this time of heightened concern about infection prevention.

SPH Medical Provides Safe Patient Handling Solutions to Healthcare Facilities

SPH Medical provides Safe Patient Handling solutions to healthcare facilities which means that we protect our frontline caregivers by preventing infection and injuries.

Within Hospitals nurses are being asked to care for patients infected with Cov-Sars2 and other deadly viral and bacterial infections. In order to deal with these deadly infections the Infection Control Nurse within the hospital mandates that single patient use devices are used where possible to lift move and transfer patients. Single patient use items are essentially disposable items that are patient specific, which means that they don’t get used with other patients. The outside laundry system generally isn’t trusted with returning specialized items or hospital owned items back to the hospital so then hospital is forced to use “disposable” items where possible to minimize the risk of infection to other patients. At times this can seem costly, but the risk and cost of hospital acquired infections and and nursing injuries is well with the investment.

How Does this Relate to One of the Most Important Departments in the Hospital?

The Labor and Delivery department is where new mothers give birth to their children in what should be safe and infection free environment.

A large percentage of mothers are continuing to get cesarean section procedures (cite sources and %) even in today’s COVID-19 environment.

With the c-section procedure comes several high-frequency patient handling tasks that Put our nurses and doctors at risk every day, lateral transfers to the OB OR table and patient positioning during the epidural injection procedure.

First the Epidural. Positioning the patient in the proper position for the injection puts our nurses at risk of injury. (See other blog posts we’ve written). We solve this my by making the patient comfortable and eliminating the static holding by the nurse with the Epidural Positioning Device.

Once the patient has received the epidural successfully and the are ready to be moved to the OB OR for the C-section procedure that staff have to plan how to move the patient on and off the table safely. Keep in mind the patient can’t scoot across to the table. They can’t feel their lower half! The staff need to use a assistive tool to transfer the patient safely on and off the OR table. What solutions are available to accomplish this?

Lateral Transfer Devices Available on the Market

There are a variety of lateral transfer devices available on the market to help transfer patients safely to and from beds, gurneys, OR tables, and Imaging Tables.

There are simple Friction Reducing Devices such as slide sheets (“easy slide disposable“ from SPH Medical) Available in many styles: flat sheets with handles, tube style sheets, there are lateral transfer boards made out of plastic also called slider boards – these are not ideal as they don’t significantly reduce friction to safe levels, there are roller boards like the Rollerslide by SPH Medical which act like a conveyer belt moving with the patient. Finally the gold standard of lateral transfer solutions is the air powered lateral transfer system which floats the patient on a comfortable layer of air between the two surfaces. This   makes the transfer process not only more comfortable for the patient but also eliminates risk of injury to the nursing and hospital staff performing the transfer. You can find a well documented clinical evaluation on Friction Reducing Devices here by Andrea Baptiste, MA, CIE, Sruthi V. Boda, MS, Audrey L. Nelson, PhD, RN, FAAN, John D. Lloyd, PhD, MErgS, CPE, and William E. Lee, III, PhD.

All Employees Should be Wearing the Appropriate Fluid Rated N95 Respirators

All employees should be wearing the appropriate fluid rated N95 respirators like the Makrite 9500-N95 which is FDA 510K approved for use as a surgical mask.


The EPD and air powered transfer system improve patient and staff safety. SPH Medical provides a total solution to reduce risks of infection and injury to our frontline caregivers in Labor and Delivery and throughout the hospital. This is not limited to Labor and Delivery departments. We are addressing similar risks throughout the entire hospital and continuum of care helping to create new standards for safety and protection of our healthcare workers. This is not about obesity and COVID. This is about caring for every patient and every nurse to improve patient outcomes and reduce risks of Infection and injury related to MSD’s and high-risk, high-frequency patient care tasks.

Please contact SPH Medical to learn more about improving safety in Labor and Delivery with air transfer systems and the EPD. To learn more about the Makrite N95 Mask options including the 9500-N95 and the SEKURA-N95.

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