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!

Improve Spinal Block Safety as well as Epidural and Lumbar Puncture safety with the Epidural Positioning Device
CategoriesPatient Handling

Advancements in Spinal Block Safety


The Epidural Positioning Device Improving Spinal Block Safety

There have been many advancements in Safe Patient Handling over the recent years. One very simple advancement has been the SPH Medical Epidural Positioning Device. This simple tool offers improved patient comfort and safety while positioning patients in the ideal flexed spine position. Most importantly it protects the caregivers, nurses, and anesthesia techs that use it and prevents staff injuries. When patients have surgery like a hip or knee replacement or go into labor before delivering a baby, they are commonly given pain relief via an epidural injection or spinal block. Any hospital unit can utilize an epidural positioning device (EPD) to improve a patient’s stability and comfort while they are receiving a spinal block. This device, also known as an Epidural Chair, decreases the risk of musculoskeletal injury to clinical staff as they position a patient to provide an epidural procedure as well as improves spinal block safety. Using this specialized equipment makes it easier for nurses, anesthesiologists, and other health care professionals to engage in safe patient handling practices at all times.

Many surgeons who perform complete knee or hip replacements prefer to recommend spinal blocks rather than general anesthesia for their patients. This treatment allows patients to start moving right away as they recover from surgery. The epidural positioning device can safely position patients in a seated position during many different types of procedures. Nursing staff and other qualified medical professionals in a Surgery Department or Labor and Delivery Unit can make adjustments to the device so that it can accommodate a variety of body types.

Safety and comfort improved with the EPD for Spinal Blocks, Epidurals, Lumbar Puncture and Thoracentesis

Safely Perform an Epidural or Spinal Blocks with the EPD

When a patient is seated at bedside or on a stretcher supported by an Epidural Chair, medical professionals can safely perform a spinal block or epidural procedure without difficulty. Funny enough, it’s not actually a chair as it has no seat! The patient actually sits on the bed or gurney and The EPD is brought over to them to provide support. As a patient leans forward against the EPD, the device promotes an ideal degree of thoracic, lumbar, and cervical spinal flexion that makes it easy for an anesthesiologist to insert a needle between their vertebrae. The specialty chair supports the patient so that staff members will never need to use their own weight to stabilize, hold, fix, or balance their body. Nurses and other clinical professionals who bear the weight of their patients can suffer sustained physical stress that can damage their own joints after a period of time. An unstable, large, or medicated patient can easily harm a staff member via improper physical contact. Using this specialized chair also decreases the chance that a patient or staff member will be injured from a slip or fall. Injuries can also be caused when sliding or rolling furniture or equipment strikes or collides with a patient or staff member.

An Epidural Chair can greatly benefit a hospital’s orthopedic surgery department or labor and delivery unit. This device is easy to add to any inventory of essential equipment. Keeping and using an epidural positioning device may increase spinal block safety and decrease a hospital’s risk of liability. According to researchers at Stanford University, the number of annual epidural procedures undertaken in the United States is increasing. The journal Anesthesiology published a report in 2018 stating that from 2009 to 2015, a large percentage of the 17 million women who delivered babies received a spinal analgesic. 68% of women who were at a normal weight and 76% of women who were overweight received this epidural treatment during labor. In 2008, 10% fewer pregnant women received the same epidural procedure. As spinal blocks become more frequent, patients and staff face greater chances of experiencing accidental injury, doing harm to equipment, wasting time, and enduring unfortunate or unsatisfying situations. Adding an EPD to a hospital’s depository of specialty equipment promotes safety and well-being for staff and patients and enhances the overall healthcare experience.


Anesthesiology September 2018, Vol. 129, 448–458.

Tracie White. “Epidurals increase in popularity, Stanford study finds.” Scope 10K, Stanford Medicine, 26 Jun. 2018. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Alexander J. Butwick, Cynthia A. Wong, and Nan Guo. “Maternal Body Mass Index and Use of Labor Neuraxial Analgesia: A Population-based Retrospective Cohort Study.”Anesthesiology, Vol. 129, Sept. 2018, ASA Publications. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Spinal Block Safety is improved with the SPH Medical EPD.
CategoriesPatient Handling

Staff Safety During Spinal Blocks

In the past, patients who required analgesia given through an epidural or spinal blocks often required a handful of nurses and other clinical staff to conduct the procedure safely. Patients were held manually in a seated position with a flexed spine, often necessitating multiple medical professionals to support, provide counterpressure, or in some cases, catch a falling patient. Each of these manual patient handling tasks put the staff at risk.  But now both patients and staff can successfully experience an epidural or spinal block procedure safely with the use of an epidural positioning device or EPD.

Using an EPD in the Surgery Department

When spinal blocks are necessary to provide patient pain relief prior to a surgical procedure, multiple anesthesia techs, nurses or other medical professionals may be employed to make sure that a patient is positioned correctly. But using an epidural positioning device can ensure that the surgery department is following safe patient-handling procedures without putting staff at risk while helping patients remain in the correct posture for the spinal bock injection. Since the use of the device will require no additional staff members once the patient is engaged, surgical techs and staff can be utilized for their expertise rather than taking part in holding or securing patients before or after the spinal is administered.

Using an Epidural Chair in the Labor and Delivery Unit

Patients preparing to give birth are frequently shifted into a seated, flexedSpinal Block and Epidural Safety is Improved along with patient safety with the SPH Medical EPD position to receive epidural analgesia prior to giving birth. While tens of millions of epidurals are administered each year with their use only expected to escalate in the future, L&D staff are tasked with following safe patient handling guidelines that can be even trickier at the end stages of pregnancy. Many Labor and Delivery Unit facilities rely on the security of using an EPD as an injury prevention device for patients, nurses, OR techs and anesthesia techs. When a pregnant person must be secured in an uncomfortable or unstable position, like the seated and flexed position required for epidurals, they may require extra support from one or more staff members. Holding on, providing counterpressure or catching an unstable patient can hurt not only the patient but could easily injure a nurse or other medical professional needlessly when support from an epidural chair is available to provide stability.

Protecting Staff and Patients

Placing patients into the optimal cervical, thoracic or lumbar flexion is key to the successful administration of spinal or epidural medications. Patients undergoing hip or knee replacements, back procedures or delivering a baby all benefit from the correct placement of their medication or analgesic that will ensure their comfort before and during the procedure as well as promote a quick recovery afterward. But medical staff benefit just as much from the use of epidural chair equipment since they are now freed up from the physical requirements of holding and supporting patients who are undergoing this type of placement-sensitive procedure. Since ensuring patient safety is paramount for all medical professionals, those who assist in surgical and L&D situations where patients may fall or need physical support can avoid putting themselves at risk for their own injuries when a medical safety device like an epidural positioning device is utilized.

Contact SPH Medical to learn more about the EPD or request a quote.


SPH Medical's EPD improves patient comfort and safety during spinal blocks and epidurals.
CategoriesPatient Handling

Improving Spinal Block Safety in Hospitals

Hospital staff and patient safety should be a top priority for all hospitals, say most healthcare professionals.  Many leading hospitals that have made staff safety a top priority have been found to have at least one epidural positioning device (EPD) in both their surgery department and another in their labor and delivery unit. These hospitals and health systems are also the ones that have healthcare workers with fewer missed work days due to musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders are some of the most costly and debilitating injuries to nurses and nurse assistants. They often lead to chronic pain and lost work days.  Back injuries are brought on by patient-handling mishaps where proper use of equipment was not employed. Facilities that use assistive devices to improve spinal block safety have documented a reduction of injury rates and severity as well as a reduction direct and indirect medical expenses. Hospitals that do not have such devices have much higher rates of injury and more lost work days. And this is backed by two very credible studies, the first of which is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That study revealed overexertion is a factor in most musculoskeletal disorder cases among medical teams.

The study also notes that the overexertion that befalls most medical teams is usually a byproduct of lifting, holding, and otherwise positioning patients to receive a spinal block or epidural injection. In a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics study, researchers revealed overexertion-related musculoskeletal disorders were to blame for more than 8,730 days-away-from-work cases filed for registered nurses in 2016. That said, there is some good news; the number of musculoskeletal disorders and missed work days among hospital medical teams are nowhere near as high these days. And this is thanks to more hospitals embracing and adding the epidural chair to the rest of the advanced equipment already in their surgery departments and labor and delivery units.

How an EPD Helps Administer Epidural Pain Relief While also Improving Spinal Block Safety

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), musculoskeletal disorders can affect bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues in varying parts of the body. The organization further notes that they can cause extreme pain, mobility problems, and, in some cases, may even be disabling. They are also some of the costliest to treat as far as work-related injuries are concerned. Most musculoskeletal disorder cases that result in hospital medical teams having to miss work involve the following:

  • The upper and lower back
  • Neck and shoulders
  • Arms, hands, legs, and feet

Whether it be for a pregnant woman due to give birth in a hospital’s labor and delivery unit or someone scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure in a hospital’s surgery department, an epidural chair to administer epidural pain relief can make life easier for everyone involved. For those who have never seen them, an epidural positioning device or epidural chair is a medical apparatus fitted with head, chest, and arm supports that help insure that a patient remains in a stable and comfortable position while they maintain the ideal flexed spine position for the injection.

These two things keep medical teams from overly exerting themselves when preparing patients to receive a spinal block or epidural. They also reduce the chances of a patient falling after receiving these powerful pain blockers which means that hospital staff also avoid having to catch a falling patient. This is a Spinal Block Safety Improved with EPD preventing falls well known cause of injury to nurses. Additionally, the EPD can reduce the risk of injection mishaps, which can sometimes happen when medical teams have to manually prop up a patient before injecting them with one of these powerful pain-blocking medications. To learn more about EPDs and why they are a must for modern-day hospitals, consider speaking with an SPH Medical associate 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

SPH Medical EPD reduces risk of injury while improving patient comfor
CategoriesPatient Handling

Spinal Block Safety Trends

Spinal Block Safety and The Use of the EPD for Patient Positioning

When patients need to undergo a spinal block for surgery or an epidural in the labor and delivery unit, many hospitals rely on pillows and the strength of staff members. While this may seem like a normal process for your facility, it doesn’t have to be. EPDs, known formally as epidural positioning devices, can be used for effective spinal block safety practices. The EPD can help to ideally position the patient and hold them during the procedure will little assistance from hospital staff members.

Understanding What EPDs Can Do

Whenever a patient needs to undergo an epidural or spinal block, an EPD can do a number of things. First, it creates a solid surface where the patient can be positioned in a safe manner. An epidural positioning device is designed to have the patient in a seated position, with their head resting forward. This promotes optimal spinal flexion in all segments of the spine so the anesthesiologist can effortlessly administer the injection.

Approved an essential component for Safe Patient Handling programs, these EPDs solve many patient care problems. The patient will be more fully supported by the epidural chair than by pillows and hospital staff members alone. Additionally, there will be no need for staff members to have to quickly respond to patients that may move or fall during the procedure. All of the patient’s support comes directly from the epidural chair.

Why are EPDs Great For Medical Staff Members?

Without an EPD, staff members have to physically help the patient get in an optimal position for their spinal anesthesia or epidural pain relief. This can be quite challenging when patients aren’t highly mobile, they may be on medication, or their shear weight may pose a risk to staff members. Once the patient is in an optimal position, staff members often have to manually support their weight or hold them in position applying counter-pressure.

Since patients are well-known to move under pain, nurses need to safely hold the patient in that position throughout the duration of the procedure. This can be quite challenging when the patient is constantly moving or may move suddenly. Additionally, if the patient starts to fall, nurses need to be able to quickly support all of the patient’s weight. Catching a falling patient is a well-known cause of injury to nurses.

This puts a lot of weight and pressure on nurses and anesthesia techs. On an average day, many will do this procedure multiple times over, which can cause further strain on their bodies. There’s a reason that nursing is the second highest industry to have chronic workplace injuries. EPDs can help to solve these issues by eliminating much of the physical component of the procedure for nurses and anesthesia techs. This physical handling of patients is called manual patient handling. Our goal is to always use Safe Patient Handling techniques and the appropriate equipment to reduce risk of injury. The EPD supports these goals.

Spinal Block Trends

In recent years, there has been a large surge in the number of spinal blocks being performed in the surgery department. Many medical procedures that were traditionally performed under general anesthesia are now being done under spinal blocks. For example, many surgeons are now using spinal anesthesia for hip and knee replacement and repair surgeries instead of general anesthesia.

In fact, between 2007 and 2017, there was a 50% increase in the number of patients who received a spinal anesthesia block for hip-fracture surgery. Many doctors prefer how quickly patients can start moving again after a spinal anesthesia block as compared to general anesthesia options. It’s now more important than ever before for patients and staff members alike to have an epidural positioning device that can make spinal anesthesia blocks and epidural pain relief much smoother and less risky for all. These should be found in every surgery department and labor and delivery unit.

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