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!

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.

Improve Patient and Staff safety with the EPD
CategoriesPatient Handling

Spinal Blocks Epidural Safety Trends

Epidurals and spinal blocks are types of anesthesia that reduce or eliminate a person’s pain sensation. Spinal anesthesia is gained popularity over time as it is deemed to be safer for patients than general anesthesia and has a lower mortality rate for expectant mothers. Although these two forms of spinal anesthesia are similar the difference is needle placement. For spinal blocks, the needle is placed into the dural sac that contains cerebrospinal fluid where an epidural is injected into the epidural space. Both can be used to treat severe pain in the lower regions of the body. An Epidural injection is often used relieve pain from labor contractions in pregnant women. Another key difference is the length of time that each shot will offer pain relief. A spinal block is a single shot that typically lasts a couple of hours where an epidural actually leaves a catheter inserted in the back to allow a continuous drip of medication and the pain relief can be extended to handle a longer period of time, like 10-18 hours of labor contractions.

Spinal Blocks and Epidural Trends in Healthcare

Looking at the data of spinal anesthesia trends in surgery centers and hospitals both physicians and patients are choosing spinal blocks due to the safety and rapid recovery time. Many total knee and total hip replacement surgeries are using spinal blocks for this very reason.  Surgeons want their patients up and moving post surgery to improve patient outcomes. In 2021 Penn Medicine published a news release addressing the myth that general anesthesia is more dangerous than a spinal block. They make the point that patient deaths, outcomes, and delirium occurring within 60 days post surgery is about equal in a study that included 1600 hip-fracture patients across north America.  Patients are often given the choice of anesthesia and it would appear that Penn’s press release is well intentioned to reduce patient fears. And they make a very good case to equalize the risk between both techniques. They note that the post surgery delirium experienced by patients receiving a block vs. general anesthesia was about equal, However, undergoing general anesthesia often requires intubation and can lead to other side effects. It’s clear that most surgeons are recommending spinal blocks for their total knees and hips to reduce risks and improve outcomes but patients will likely have a choice.

Epidural Positioning Device

Epidural Positioning Device (EPD), also known as the Epidural Chair, is a key development in Safe Patient Handling solutions that helps position patients safely and securely in the ideal position so that an epidural or spinal block can be administered safely.  The EPD is a simple and easy-to-use and positioning device that has gained popularity worldwide. The Epidural Positioning Device or Epidural Chair is a portable device that provides the caregiver or nurse with the help they need for accurate positioning of patients while avoiding the risk of injury associated with manually positioning the patient and holding them while the needle is inserted.  An epidural Positioning Device (EPD) is commonly used in the pre-op area or surgical suite to administer the spinal block.  It is now the standard of care in Labor and Delivery units where epidurals are performed all day long.

Advantages of Epidural Positioning Device

  • Supports up to 600lbs
  • Reduces risk of injury to nursing and technical staff
  • Used for Epidural’s, Spinal Blocks, and Thoracentesis
  • Improves patient comfort and patient satisfaction scores
  • Improved efficiency and throughput for busy departments
  • Portable and moves from room to room easily
  • Assembles in less than 5 minutes
  • Creates a safe standardized process to improve patient and staff safety
The SPH Medical EPD improves safety for Spinal positioning
CategoriesPatient Handling

Using an EPD for Patient Positioning During Spinal Blocks

Most medical professionals who take part in orthopedic surgery say an epidural positioning device (EPD) significantly improves safety and comfort for patients getting a subarachnoid block and then undergoing orthopedic surgery. To better understand why they feel this way, it helps to know a little more about subarachnoid blocks and the type of orthopedic surgeries in which they are most beneficial. Using the epidural positioning chair for patient positioning during spinal blocks helps the nursing staff as well as the patient.

Why an Epidural Positioning Device Might Be Necessary Before and Even After a Subarachnoid Block

So that everyone is on the same page, a subarachnoid block, also known as a spinal block, is a general anesthesia alternative capable of producing an intense sensory, motor, and sympathetic blockade that keeps pain at bay.  The process entails injecting an anesthetic or opioid directly into the subarachnoid space via a fine needle.  These injections go into the patient’s back and leave them feeling numb from the waist down, making them ideal for orthopedic surgery involving the legs, hips, knees, and ankles.  The effects of a subarachnoid block can last from 2 to 4 hours.  That said, problems can arise when patients are left numb from the waist down after receiving a subarachnoid block injection.  To minimize the risk of patients falling when they have to transition from one location to another, medical staff will have to manually hold and support them, which requires a reasonable degree of counter pressure.  But even still, falls do happen.  And sometimes, both the patient and medical personnel end up suffering injuries as a result.

The Dangers in Patient Positioning During Spinal Blocks

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, the subarachnoid block or spinal block is the most widely practiced anesthesia technique used in surgeries involving the lower extremities, including orthopedic surgeries. In 2017, around 22 million Americans underwent orthopedic surgery of some kind. By the end of 2022, a projected 28 million will have undergone orthopedic surgery, according to a Globe Newswire study. Some of the nurses and anesthesia technicians involved in these surgeries either already have or eventually will suffer injuries due to not using an EPD, with falls, back strain, or both being to blame for the vast majority of them.

How Does the EPD Help for Patient Positioning During Spinal Blocks and Surgical Procedures?

First and foremost, EPDs are not limited to nurses and anesthesia technicians in a surgery department alone.  They can come in handy during post-surgery when patients are still in pain or find it difficult to move certain limbs.  Even in a surgery department, nurses and anesthesia technicians use them for non-orthopedic surgeries.  It is not uncommon to see them used before and after most surgeries involving a patient’s lower extremities.  EPDs can also come in handy in a labor and delivery unit to help move women from one location to another after childbirth, especially if they received epidural pain relief beforehand.  Whether in a surgery department, labor and delivery unit, or elsewhere in a medical setting, all EPDs work more or less the same.  They allow medical staff to position patients correctly and comfortably to facilitate cervical, thoracic and lumbar flexion.

To that end, the benefits of EPD, also known as an epidural chair, are as follows:

  • Can accommodate various patient body types
  • Can support patients weighing up to 600 lbs
  • Keeps patients who are dizzy or otherwise uncoordinated due to an epidural from falling
  • Allows nurses and other medical staff members time to tend to more pressing tasks

Bottom Line

Helping a patient get into a new position, especially when epidural pain relief is involved, can be challenging and dangerous.  Using EPDs or epidural chairs can make life easier, not to mention safer, for everyone involved.

Reduce Risk Of Injury with the SPH Medical EPD
CategoriesPatient Handling

Epidural or Spinal Block

Epidural Positioning Device Implementation to Improve Patient Outcomes and Healthcare Worker Safety

In the realm of anesthesia, there are many methods to help reduce a patient’s pain and suffering during operations or procedures. It takes an entire team of healthcare professionals to deliver safe and effective anesthesia that produces positive patient outcomes. One of the most common anesthesia types includes epidural anesthesia or spinal block, which is seen in the operating room and the labor and delivery room. The delivery of anesthesia in these modalities is much more technical and requires more staffing in general than general anesthesia. They need the anesthetist and supportive staff to be positioned in respect to the patient to deliver the medication effectively and safely. Patients also understand that they play a role during the anesthesia and must remain completely still during the procedure. The patient’s body habitus also plays a role in how well the patient and supporting staff can get the patient in the correct position.

Epidural anesthesia delivers medication into the area that lies above the epidural sac. Understanding the basic anatomy of the spinal cord and the vertebral column can help understand the positioning of a patient when it comes to the delivery of anesthesia. The epidural sac covers the spinal cord and creates a space where cerebrospinal fluid can nourish and cushion the spinal cord. The vertebrae that help protect the spinal cord have spinous processes that project posteriorly that protect and allow for mobility of the spine. When a patient is flexed, the spinous process angle between each other opens and exposes the spinal cord. The anesthetist can use this position to allow direct access to the Dural sac since the spinous process will be angled up and away in a flexed position.

The spinal cord and vertebral column’s anatomy and function are why epidural anesthesia requires the patient to be in a flexed-knee-to-chest position. The anesthetist will then have access to the spine to deliver the medication at the proper location safely. Often the additional staff is needed to help position the patient. The team who help position the patient can often find themselves in non-ergonomic positions to keep the patient from moving and allowing safe delivery of medication. An often-overlooked factor of patient safety and outcomes is the ergonomics of the staff that are included in procedures. Staff who must repeatedly put their bodies in awkward anatomical positions can put themselves at risk for a musculoskeletal injury. This can affect patient outcomes down the road if staff are not able to perform functions necessary for their task because of a musculoskeletal disorder.

A lot of research is being invested in staff ergonomics and safety to aid in improving patient outcomes. With respect to epidurals and similar procedures requiring patient positioning, an Epidural Positioner Device, or EPD, has been developed to provide safety to both the patient and the healthcare staff. Epidural positioning device benefits patient outcomes by allowing for safe and fast positioning of the patient. It can also be adjusted with respect to the patient’s body habitus. From the user standpoint, there are less movement and fewer complications with regards to catheter placement. The Epidural Positioner can also be used in settings that require the patient to be in a similar position, such as a Spinal Block. In a Spinal Block, the medication is administered within the Dural sac, whereas in an epidural, the medicine is administered just above the Dural sac. Both procedures require the patient to be in the same position, which allows the epidural positioning to be used in either setting.

The Epidural or Spinal Block and Thoracentesis

The Epidural Positioner has also found its way into Thoracentesis. This is a procedure where fluid from the thoracic is removed either for therapeutics or diagnostic studies. Allowing the patient to be placed in a less mobile position will enable the proceduralist to safely perform the Thoracentesis without injury to vital structures such as the lung. This device shows its promising advancement in patient outcomes when it comes to improving staff ergonomics and safety. It takes an entire medical team to take care of a patient. It is of utmost importance for any organization to seriously take the safety and health of each of its staff members.

Considering the EPD implementation, patient outcomes can be improved and allow for procedures to be carried out safely, effectively, and rapidly to help reduce negative outcomes and financial burdens to the healthcare system. In the realm of epidural or spinal block, pain and suffering can be reduced in the labor and delivery floor and in the operating suite. In diagnostic procedures like the spinal tap, a safer collection of specimens can be carried out while decreasing the risk of harming the patient during studies. In Thoracentesis, healthcare professionals can perform therapeutic procedures at a more effective and expedited timeline requiring less staff to hold the patient. Overall, the EPD or devices like it may find their way into other procedures to help decrease the risk of Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries to users and provide safe and effective healthcare.

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

Overweight Patients and Epidurals

Obesity is a global epidemic. It is estimated that over 50% of pregnant woman in the United States are overweight or obese. Compared to normal weight patients, an obese patient is more prone to a number of complications during pregnancy and delivery including higher rates of cesarean section. And with c-sections, comes the administration of epidurals.

shutterstock_392645860via Shutterstock

Epidural catheter placement in bariatric patients can be more challenging because the spine can be harder to find and pinpoint where the puncture needs to be placed.

“Because it’s difficult to get in, in the first place, it’s not exactly in the right spot and if it’s not in the right spot the function tends to be poor,” says Dr. Victoria Eley, an anesthetist working at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Because epidural complications and challenges are more common in overweight patients, it is especially important for doctors to position these patients in the most precise way they can to achieve a positive outcome. SPH Medical’s EPD (Epidural Positioning Device) was designed to do just that and help reduce some potential epidural placement risks.

The EPD and E-EPD correctly and comfortably position patients up to 600 pounds to receive an epidural by encouraging cervical, thoracic and lumbar flexion while maintaining a solid and stable position. EPDs provide doctors with a safer and more efficient way to help patients receive a successful epidural by allowing optimal body mechanics to be achieved through the controlled device. It has been found to be very helpful in assisting doctors and medical staff with overweight patients by  improving patient comfort needs and outcomes and reducing inefficiencies and stress on both the patient and the medical staff.

Obese and overweight patients can be harder to move, position correctly and hold steady for the administration of the epidural. The hassle-free EPD can eliminate these issues because it can be brought right to the patient and adjusted according to their height and size. The weight of the patient can be transferred to the locked EPDs rather than onto the assistant, nurse or unsteady pillow, which can cause stress, unstable positioning and failed epidurals.


E-EPD (Electric Epidural Positioning Device)

The EPD and E-EPD were designed to improve overall safety and reduce risks associated with epidural placements in an effective and efficient way. It is a great solution for making an already difficult process a little less difficult, especially in overweight or obese patients.

Download EPD
Package Brochure


Download E-EPD Brochure


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


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