The SPH Medical EPD improves safety and comfort during Thoracentesis Epidurals and Spinal Blocks
CategoriesPatient Handling

Safe Patient Handling during Thoracentesis

What is an EPD and How Does it Help with Safe Patient Handling?

EPD stands for epidural positioning device. This is an epidural chair that helps to safely position and support a patient while getting an epidural or spinal block. This portable device allows for optimal safe patient handling without the physical need of staff members to hold patients for an extended period of time.

Why is an EPD Useful for a Thoracentesis?

When a thoracentesis is performed, the patient must be placed in a similar position as an epidural to allow the needle to successfully penetrate into the pleural space. Expert patient positioning is a must to ensure that this procedure is done safely and correctly every single time.

Unfortunately, using stacked pillows and relying on the physical exertion of staff members to hold a patient in place during this painful procedure isn’t always the best option for your facility. Rather an epidural positioner can be a great addition to any hospital looking to reduce nursing injury statistics and optimize patient care.

Where is Thoracentesis performed?

Thoracentesis is often performed in a hospital setting where a pulmonologist will drain the fluid in the pleural cavity. This can be an inpatient procedure or an outpatient procedure. One hospital that uses the EPD for thora’s, City of Hope in Los Angeles, California has their patients visit the ultrasound department where the ultrasound tech is responsible for preparing the patient. Ultrasound guidance is used to locate the needle insertion point and is considered to improve patient safety.

The Various Safe Patient Handling Benefits of EPDs

When it comes to safe patient handling, EPDs are a great way to help enhance your staff’s ability to keep patients safe and comfortable during a thoracentesis procedure. In fact, these devices provide many great benefits for patients and staff members alike.

Increase Safe Patient Handling with the EPD

The epidural positioner will provide each patient with layers of support that will keep them safe throughout the procedure. While staff members are capable of holding patients in position, these types of static holds put hospital workers at risk and there’s always the possibility the patient or the staff member moving.  For example, a staff member may experience a cramp or some other condition that compromises their ability to continue to hold the patient safely in position. With an epidural positioner, you can eliminate the risk of manual patient handling and ensure patient safety 100% of the time.

Less Risk to Staff Members

Nurses and ultrasound techs won’t have to hold the patient into position or continue to support them throughout the procedure. Additionally, there’s no possibility of the patient falling and staff members having to quickly catch a falling patient or support the full weight of the patient. Any equipment that helps to reduce long periods of static holding or over exertion by your staff members can greatly contribute to healthier staff members, improved job satisfaction, and will reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Requires Fewer Staff Members

Another great benefit of epidural positioning devices is that they provide so much support for the patient that you won’t need to have multiple staff members manually positioning the patient. Rather, you can have one staff member oversee the patient and the ultrasound technician. This helps to reduce labor requirements and allows your staff members to more efficiently handle patient flow throughout the day.

Epidural positioning devices can be a great addition to your medical facility. They can work to enhance patient safety, speed up procedures like Thoras, and reduce the wear and tear on your staff members. Any good medical facility knows that investing in devices that offer safe patient handling and less physical exertion from their staff members is a must. If you don’t currently have any EPDs, it’s high time to consider investing in them.

CategoriesPatient Handling

A Nurses Story About Safe Patient Handling

You went into nursing because you wanted to help people feel better and become healthy. You knew you’d need to take care of yourself to keep up with all the running around, standing, bending, stretching, lifting, and general patient care. You also knew that providing face-to-face, hands-on, eye-to-eye care was a calling of the soul, not just a career. No robotic technology can ever replace the human touch and ability to provide hands on patient care, this includes safe patient handling practices. Personal interaction gives reassurance, hope, warmth, and a feeling of safety. Numerous studies celebrate the benefits of feel-good endorphins relieving pain and promoting healing.

Early in their professional training, nurses and aides learn about the hazards of immobility: the physical and emotional dangers of staying in the same position for long periods of time. Movement during and after recovery is life-saving for patients. Another part of training is the necessity for aides and nurses to use good body mechanics to protect their own bodies. Bad backs end careers. Poor lifting techniques result in back injuries, but so does the accumulation of micro-injuries repeated over time. Instructors emphasize the necessity of prioritizing safety by getting help instead of trying to perform a risky task alone.

In the real world, though, new nurses and aides were in for a shock as they encountered the reality of working in the healthcare field.  In the past, tight budgets usually opted for physical labor over technology. As a new nurse, you didn’t realize how much manual lifting, limb holding, pushing, and pulling was required to perform general patient care tasks all day long. While working on the Medical floor, I cared for 5 patients that required boosting, turning, assistance out of bed, ambulation assistance, toilet transfers, dressing changes, linen changes, limb holding and more. These were all manual tasks that took their toll on my back, neck and shoulders. Even when we had help from a second nurse, one person seemed to be doing more of the work. Even with two people it wasn’t safe.

How do patients feel when they call for assistance but end up waiting long periods of time before anybody comes? How is it lying in cold urine until a lone staff member limps in, unable to find an available second helper? Statistics reveal that a major cause of falls in medical settings is patients trying to get up instead of waiting for help. Nurses and aides alike will agree that one of the things patients overwhelmingly want most is assistance getting comfortable or going to the bathroom. Sadly, patients often confess feeling guilty calling for help from their exhausted aides and nurses, confiding that they don’t want to be a burden, either emotionally or physically. And they don’t have to!

Innovative biomedical engineers have designed wonderful products that make life better for people with illnesses and disabilities. Considering the miracles that modern technology has achieved, nurses, aides, and patients benefit in the following ways when using the RoWalker for early Mobility, MiniLift200 for sit to stand transfers, the breathable repositioning sheet for boosting and turning, the EPD for help during epidurals and spinal blocks, and the SPH Medical Air Assisted Transfer System because lateral transfers and boosting occurs everywhere:

  • Improved patient mobility
  • Reduced Risk of falls
  • Improvement in strength and endurance
  • Reduction in delirium
  • Reduced risk of injury to hospital staff
  • Reduced friction on patients skin
  • Improved staff morale
  • Nursing retention and career longevity

Facilities such as hospitals, surgery centers, extended care facilities, rehab centers, day centers, and private homes also benefit.

Repositioning injuries from pulling patients up in bed or readjusting their joint alignment with pillows is common in nursing staff.  This boosting task is also one of the most frequent causes of injury to nurses.  The Lateral Transfer, that is helping with a patient move from the bed to a wheelchair, recliner, or stretcher, is often the riskiest because the patient’s full weight is involved.  Patients often move and shift during repositioning and lateral transfers. Newton’s Second Law of Motion (describing a force to equal to mass plus velocity over time) translates to Nursing Injury, staff reduction, compromise in patient care, and increased hospital costs.  Gait belts and draw sheets we thought were better than nothing but they can transmit infection, disturb wound dressings, and cause pinching and abrasion of delicate skin.  There are safer methods now to lift, move, transfer, hold, and ambulate patients using modern safe patient handling techniques that are simple and easy to use.

Not only can they save staff members time and energy, but they inspire patient confidence in medical facilities. Investing in equipment that protects staff and benefits patients offers a proven Return On Investment because it proves to staff and patients alike corporation recognizes and values their work, safety, and cares about their welfare.  Patients also see how the administration functions as a team instead of driving their workforce to exhaustion.

Assistive devices to aid in lateral transfers such as the SPH Medical Air Mat have the ability to save hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct medical expenses not to mention the indirect cost of staff injuries that are estimated to be three to ten times the cost of direct medical expenses.

This nurse for one is thankful that modern Safe Patient Handling has arrived.  I just wish it was here 30 years ago! I left the workforce with a severe back injury coupled with damaged shoulders and too many strains and sprains to count. Please investigate the appropriate assistive devices for your healthcare environment by consulting the experts at SPH Medical. I know they would be happy to help.

Air Transfer System and Epidural Chair by SPH Medical
CategoriesPatient Handling

Safe Patient Handling in Perioperative Areas

While Stanford University researchers looked for data on epidurals for pregnant obese women, they found a stunning statistic. Seventy-one percent of all pregnant women get an epidural or other spinal anesthesia, an increase of 10 percent over a ten-year period. Recent advancements in technology allow the SPH Medical Air Transfer System and the Epidural Positioning Chair to help anesthesiologists and nursing staff implement safe patient handling to improved outcomes.

Enhancing Safe Patient Handling Process for Patients and Nurses

The miracle of getting relief from extreme discomfort with an epidural or spinal block helps people tolerate the pain of childbirth and surgery.  Patient positioning by nurses working in the hospital setting is not limited to Labor and Delivery and Surgery departments.  Anywhere patients require physical assistance nurses and therapists are present to help.  Unfortunately, as the keystone of the country’s health care system, nurses experience a higher than average risk of musculoskeletal injury. Delivering care to others often comes at the expense of personal well-being, but specially adapted devices help lighten the load.

Guidelines in the Safe Patient Handling tool kit by the Association of Peri-Operative RNs (AORN) recommend an Air Transfer System for surgical patients over 157 pounds to lessen the incidence of injury to caregivers. In addition, the highly efficient system requires fewer staff members to move patients safely. At SPH Medical, we have perfected the design first introduced in the 90s to reduce risks of infection and cross-contamination. With successful use in surgery departments across the country as a patient-specific device, the system features a Single Patient Use Transfer Mat that remains with each patient until no longer needed.

Exploring the Features of the Air Assisted Transfer System

Each feature of the system contributes to the efficiency and safety of moving patients without risk of injury to staff.

  • Components of each system include a transfer mattress, motor, air hose, power cord and optional transport cart.
  • Safety straps on the transfer pad connect across the patient during transfer.
  • Ergonomic handles allow caregivers to transfer horizontally or boosting up in bed.
  • Perforated air chambers between the transfer mattress and surface reduce friction and provide support for the patient.
  • Optional disposable top sheets on the Single Patient Use Transfer Mat can keep moisture away from the patient and protect the moisture-proof mattress from soiling.
  • An efficient air hose and motor design make the transfer process safe and routine for patients and staff.

Nurses are faced with high frequency patient handling tasks, from repositioning to lateral transfers transfer, that put  them at risk for severe career ending injuries.  The significant direct medical expenses and immeasurable indirect costs of these injuries demand that these high risk tasks are addressed and modified with the appropriate tools to create a safe work environment for nurses.  To address these issues, SPH Medical is delivering innovative devices that provide technological advancements in safety and efficiency to improve patient care and staff safety.

Increasing Safe Patient Handling Practices

As the high volume of surgical cases makes epidurals and spinal blocks almost commonplace, the need to improve positioning deserves attention. However, even though the procedures continue to gain popularity, the constant factor concerns the process of positioning patients.

The traditional method allows a level of imprecision that the Epidural Positioner prevents. Preparation for the procedure required a patient to lie on one side or lean over a bedside table until the gold standard for positioning became essential in hospitals. The Epidural Positioner makes precision the highest priority. Makeshift substitutes for accuracy require patients to use pillows to achieve spinal flexion and allow access to the spine.

Unfortunately, without effective designs that feature technological advances, the nursing staff must position patients manually. Even worse, the procedure requires manual static holding and counterpressure that increases caregivers’ risk of musculoskeletal injury. A safe patient handling tool such as an epidural positioning device (EPD) eliminates the need for manual techniques that create risk for patients and staff.

Reducing the Risk of Injury

An Epidural Positioner provides access for pregnant moms to get relief from unendurable pain, and it has many applications outside the labor and delivery unit. For example, surgical departments worldwide use EPD to prepare patients for joint replacement surgeries. In many cases, a spinal block provides the treatment that has become the standard of care.

Imaging departments have discovered the benefit of the EPD as well.  A common procedure called Thoracentesis which involves draining fluid from the pleural cavity in the lungs requires patient positioning that puts Ultrasound technicians and nurses at risk.  The Epidural Chair solves this issue by safely positioning the patient while allowing access for the pulmonologist to perform the procedure.  The patient is comfortably positioned on the EPD instead of the historic bedside table with pillows that doesn’t lock, a dramatic improvement in safety.

While nursing staff have traditionally used manual handing to achieve proper proper patient positioning in all areas of the hospital, their dedication to duty may come at a great expense.  Occasionally, an exceptional opportunity offers excellent options for patients and nursing staff, and the SPH Medical product offering of Air Assisted Transfer Systems and the EPD provide such access.  SPH Medial delivers a blend of efficiency and effectiveness that removes the burden of pushing, pulling, and lifting by nursing staff significantly reducing risk of injury and dramatically improving patient satisfaction.

SPH Medical Repositioning Transfers and Ambulation
CategoriesPatient Handling

Safe Patient Mobility Today

Today, Safe Patient Mobility means something different to every department in the hospital. But in general it means that we need to understand how patients move and how to safely handle them based upon their functional abilities. An important component is choosing the right assistive solution for each patient. There are a couple of tools now available that help assess a patient’s functional ability and then translate the results of that assessment to an assistive device recommendation. The first validated functional assessment tool of this kind for safe patient handling is the BMAT. We’ll go into greater detail about the history of the BMAT in another article but suffice it to say that nurses need to select use the right assistive tool based upon their functional ability to then mobilize our patients safely while maximizing the patients’ ability to move! The BMAT helps define the right tool. This article will focus on one of the highest frequency tasks that we see in hospitals today where a patient is totally dependent upon the hospital staff to be moved either up in bed or over to another surface laterally.

Mobility Solutions Matched to BMAT mobility levels

Safe Patient Mobility for Lateral Movement

A significant obstacle to providing therapeutic and safe environments of care is the practice handling patients manually. Sliding, lifting, positioning, and transferring patients without using assistive technology remains common in healthcare facilities. Notwithstanding, it is an unsafe practice for both patients and caregivers. Manual handling places caregivers at significant risk for nursing injury.

Scholars have established that more than eighty percent of caregivers’ work-related injuries result from a lack of safer ways to move or lift patients manually.

The increasing rate of morbidly obese, sicker, and predictable bariatric surgery patients that need to be moved around for multiple caregiving tasks amplifies the level of stress placed on caregivers’ bodies. It calls for some little imagination to understand that the nursing injury impacts organizational and staffing costs associated with workers’ compensation, lost time, and, most importantly, the quality of care. At the same time, manual patient handling increases the risk of pain, repositioning injury, and adverse health outcomes.

Risk Of Injury

According to research, of all professional groups, healthcare has the most significant number of work-related injuries. Globally, 50 to 60 percent of healthcare professionals are suffering from muscular-skeletal disorders. Repositioning, lateral transfer and movement are the most cited patient handling tasks in clinical facilities, and if performed manually, they endanger both patient and staff health. The air-assisted transfer system, such as the SPH Medical Air Transfer System, presents a practical approach to mitigating repositioning injury risks and physical effort related to the performance of transfers while reducing healthcare costs and work-related injuries. It allows the release of low-pressure air via the perforated chambers within its transfer mattress. The system creates a thin air cushion under an inflated mattress to lower friction and protect the patient’s skin, leading to improved care and injury risk reduction.

Reposition Turn and Transfer with the SPH Medical Air Transfer System

Cost Implications

According to International Labor Organization (ILO), the economic impact of not investing in health and worker safety is approximately equal to the collective gross domestic product of the one hundred and thirty poorest nations globally. The organization revealed that 2.78 million workers die annually due to occupational illnesses and injuries. An estimated 2.4 million of these deaths are associated with work-related illnesses. The annual aggregate cost of these injuries, diseases, and deaths is $2.99 trillion or approximately 4% of global GDP. There is a worldwide recognition that some OSHA challenges require global solutions.


The HGRC Specialty Subcommittee on Patient Movement has studied the application of patient movement and handling equipment within health facilities. In sharing its expertise and research, ILO shockingly established a lack of information and knowledge on the issue and a growing recognition among regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry of the need to address this concern. The healthcare industry, nurses labor unions, nurses’ associations, state and federal regulators, and state legislatures have argued in favor of the capital costs associated with bills mandating minimal lift policies and the adoption of Air Transfer Systems to mitigate caregiver injuries.

Several states have enacted patient handling resolutions or legislation. Moreover, Washington and Minnesota have committed funds for loan or grant programs to help acquire these devices. American Nurses Association (ANA) standards on Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) recommend that healthcare facilities focus on establishing a culture of safety, adopting and implementing the SPHM program, and installing and maintaining SPHM technology. Similarly, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also recommends the use of lateral sliding to aid lateral transfer to support patient movement and repositioning.


The benefits accrued from the Air Transfer devices include the following:

  • They enhance the quality of life for both caregivers and patients and better patient outcomes.SPH Medical Air Transfer Mat Single Patient Use
  • There are multiple economic benefits that are enormous, especially those associated with cost implications for direct medical expenses incurred due to injury, lost time, and workers’ compensation.
  • They address the top two high risk tasks that cause injury to nurses, repositioning and lateral transfers.
  • They assist in the transfer of patients with exceedingly less exertion, keeping patients well-positioned and comfortable.
  • The Single Patient Use design of the Air Transfer Mattress supports the hospitals infection prevention program and significantly reduces the risk of cross-contaminating other patients or surfaces with deadly pathogens.
  • The SPH Medical Air Transfer System addresses all lateral transfer needs in Surgery, ICU, Medical floors, imaging and in Labor and Delivery units.
  • Air Transfer Systems also assist transport staff and all departments to promote workplace efficiency by improving patient throughput while reducing risk of injury.

Integrating air-powered transfer and positioning solutions will benefit staff, patients, and the entire industry through improving efficiencies, reducing costs, and will fundamentally improve patient satisfaction and care.

Contact SPH Medical to discuss implementing evidence based safe patient mobility solutions in your facility or department.

CategoriesPatient Handling

Patient Positioning During Thoracentesis Solved

Major Advancements in Safe Patient Positioning during Thoracentesis

Over the past two decades we have seen major advancements in patient care. This includes many new Safe Patient Handling Solutions developed to help our nurses and caregivers avoid the risk injury. Manual patient handling is one of the leading causes of back injuries for nurses. Many States have put laws in place to mandate that hospitals have a Safe Patient Handling program. This includes evaluating all inpatient units for high risk tasks that involve lifting, pushing, pulling, or prolonged static holds. Then the hospital should evaluate solutions to mitigate the risk. Here we are in 2020 and manual patient handling has not been eliminated yet!

We have been receiving phone calls from hospitals around the country describing a very common procedure. It is putting their ultrasound/imaging team at risk of injury on a daily basis. The procedure is called Thoracentesis and the issues are patient positioning during Thoracentesis.

Thoracentesis is also known as thoracocentesis or pleural tap. It is an invasive procedure to remove fluid or air from the pleural space for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. A cannula, or hollow needle, is carefully introduced into the thorax, generally after administration of local anesthesia.

One Ultrasound Manager at leading hospital found our website and the EPD – or Epidural Positioning Device. She contacted us and thought this would be perfect for their situation.

Here’s a brief description:

This hospital sees both inpatients and outpatients for Thora’s (That’s short for Thoracentesis). They’re performing about 3-6 procedures per day, seven days a week.

A Nurse or LPN helps assist to position the patient. The patient is seated on a gurney or table. The Nurse brings over a stool to support their feet. Then moves a bedside tray table over in front of the patient. Next they stack the table with pillows so the patient can lean on it comfortably. But, the table does not lock and it is a tip hazard!

We found this reference card on the web describing the old fashioned manual positioning of patients during Thora’s

thoracentesis Nursing Care Patient Prep

Which patients are getting Thoracentesis? There are many types of patients with varying diagnoses that need to undergo this procedure. People get “plural effusion” which is fluid around the lungs. A large number of patients are cancer patients but many are also heart and infections.

Thoracentesis Procedure

Thoracentesis procedure

How are we solving this predictable procedure and all the manual patient handling – static holds, fall risk, etc? The SPH Medical Epidural Positioning Device is the key. It was designed by an anesthesiologist to help position patients properly and to open up the spine for ideal needle placement of an Epidural or Spinal Block. It has now become the standard of care for L&D and surgery departments. Now the Radiology/Imaging department has discovered it and we’re helping the ultrasound team and Pulmonologists position patients safely and efficiently.

We have few photos from a recent customer that has implemented the EPD. Here are the before and after photos. Please feel free to Contact us for more information about the EPD and Thora’s. We would be happy to connect you with to our customers who are now using the EPD for all of their Thora’s and creating a safer environment for their staff and patients.

Thoras Before

A Typical Thoracentesis set up with a stool and non-locking tray table with pillows.

Thoras After with EPD

Now with the EPD – Ergonomic patient positioning that supports the patient safely and eliminates manual handling!

CategoriesPatient Handling

Keeping Staff and Patients Safe in OR and Radiology with the EPD

The EPD and E-EPD were developed to reduce the risk of injuries and improve safety among staff and patients. By implementing the use of EPDs, hospitals can actively protect their staff and improve patient outcomes.


Safe Patient Handling

EPDs are used in numerous medical settings including labor and delivery, general surgery, operating rooms, anesthesiology, radiology and orthopedic departments. These are all settings in which epidurals, spinal blocks, x-rays and Thoracentesis procedures are performed. Keeping patients safe and comfortable while avoiding injuries is an extremely important factor for every medical facility. EPDs correctly and effectively position patients to do just that. They create a sturdy, steady and comfortable place to assist in holding patients in place while their procedure is performed.

Reducing Risks to Staff 

Hospitals and medical facilities are responsible for keeping their nurses and support staff safe. Plans to keep staff injury-free include providing them with the right tools. EPDs eliminate back pain and body strain that nurses can endure while assisting with tradition positioning methods associated with epidurals and like procedures. It is important to keep nurses and hospital staff healthy and performing at their best. EPDs make this easy. They position and support patients correctly and easily so that nurses don’t have the pressure and physical load of holding patients in a stable position for a long period of time. This can cause a lot of strain and be uncomfortable, especially if the patient is larger than the nurse.

Download EPD Package Data Sheet

Download E-EPD Data Sheet


EPDs and E-EPDs are a clearly defined safety need in hospitals. Not only do they keep patients safe, they help keep the hospital staff safe as well. They help eliminate errors, injuries and accidents which directly increases patient and nurse satisfaction. EPDs are easy to implement and use, making it a simple decision when it comes to protecting staff and patients.


Contact SPH Medical for more information about supporting your patient and staff safety goals.


CategoriesPatient Handling

Banner Health installs SPH Medical patient lifts in Banner University Medical Center Projects

Banner Health is opening their state of the art hospital in downtown Phoenix, Arizona equipped with the latest Safe Patient Handling solutions from SPH Medical to reduce risk of injury to staff and to improve patient care. Banner University Medical Center Phoenix has incorporated overhead ceiling lifts in approximately half of the rooms of the new tower.

Using the new ceiling lifts will enable nursing staff to boost, turn, and transfer patients safely while reducing risk of injury to staff. The hospital will be using the new breathable repositioning sheet that can stay under patients for extended periods of time.


The breathable sheet for repositioning in use:

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