CategoriesPatient Handling

Nurses At Risk Of Injury

Why Are Nurses At Risk of Injury

Perhaps the number one cause of nursing injury is a patient repositioning task. Registered nurses are an integral part of the healthcare field and are essential to hospitals being able to run effectively. One of the most important roles that nurses have is ensuring patient comfort and safety. However, often while they are fulfilling these roles, they must sacrifice their own comfort and safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses experienced 10,790 non-fatal injuries that required at least one day away from the job in 2016. That is a rate of incidence at 104.2 cases per 10,000 employees working full-time, which can be compared to a much lower number of 91.7 cases per 10,000 full-time employees for other occupations. The conclusion: nurses at risk of injury.  45.6% of these injuries were attributed to overexertion. Overexertion includes excessive physical effort in the forms of twisting, bending, and lifting. Two of the most physically taxing motions that nurses perform regularly with patients in the hospital are lateral transfers and repositioning by boosting up in bed.

Safe Patient Handling (SPH) Medical’s Air Transfer System aims to increase safety and decrease incidences of nursing injury. The Single Patient Use Air Transfer Mat works by being placed deflated and flat under the patient. With a simple press of a button, the air system inflates the mat creating a level surface with four accessible handles on each side. The nurse can then connect safety buckles across the patient for safety and perform a lateral transfer with ease.  Two nurses simply grasp the handles and float the patient from one surface to the other on a thin cushion of air.

The bottom of the mat has hundreds of small perforations that blow out air, creating a barrier between the mat and the transfer surface. This greatly reduces friction and allows the caregiver to use significantly less force with less strain on the body to perform the transfer. SPH Medical’s Air Transfer System reduces repositioning injury as well by assisting with boosting up in bed.  After turning on the air supply, the nurse can use the handles to easily glide the patient anywhere on the bed, ensuring optimal positioning. Patient transfers and repositioning that used to take up to 4 nurses can now be safely accomplished by only two staff members.  Patients of all sizes can easily be repositioned without risk of injury to nursing staff.

The Single Patient Use Air Transfer Mat can be easily placed under patients. In units of the hospital where there are high numbers of total care patients, like in the ICU and ER, all beds can feasibly be premade by housekeeping staff to include the Air Transfer Mat for quick use. However, even if this is not an option, the Air Transfer Mat can be easily placed under the patient utilizing standardized linen changing techniques or log rolling.

Sanitary pads and sheets can be placed over the mat to keep it clean and comfortable for the patient. Since the mat is for single-patient use, the risk of infections spreading from patient to patient is nearly eliminated. It also means that nurses do not have to wait for laundered mats to be placed back in the supply closet after going through the laundry system.  This availability is crucial for both the patient and the nurse. Having critical supplies on hand is key to avoiding a near miss injury that can be avoided.  Additionally adequate supply on hand means that a lateral transfer can be performed when a patient needs to be moved to a gurney quickly for a lifesaving procedure, surgery, or test. There are countless situations where patients do not have a second to spare, and nurses often have high caseloads where they simply do not have time to wait around for supplies to be ready.  Nor do they have time to wait for up to four other nurses to help with the lateral transfer over to a gurney.  The SPH Medical Air Transfer system improves patient throughput and efficiency.

The average cost of a strain injury is $32,023 and is not always 100% covered by worker’s compensation. Direct medical expenses are only the tip of the iceberg.  Financial experts estimated that the indirect cost of injuries may be 10 times the direct cost.  Nurses can also take additional financial hits by having to miss work or cut down on hours due to pain, sometimes chronic pain, and exhaustion.

With SPH Medical’s Air Transfer System, manual patient handling can become a thing of the past, and nurses can get back to enjoying their lives injury free. Avoiding injury while working in the patient care field is important to ensure a long career.  Too many nurses have been injured which puts increasing pressure on the supply of well trained and experienced nurses.  As many of our baby boomer nurses begin retiring we’ll need to make it easier to stay in the workforce injury free to share their decades of knowledge with the younger nurses.  By avoiding injury our nurses can indulge more in the things they love while they are off the clock. They may also have more energy to engage with loved ones and lead an overall happier, healthier life, now and in retirement.

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