Use of Assistive Devices to Lift, Transfer, and Reposition Hospital Patients.
BACKGROUND: Devices to lift, transfer, and reposition patients are recommended for healthcare workers' and patients' safety, but their intended use has yet to be fully realized. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe hospital nursing staff use of lift/transfer devices and the presence of factors at the time of lifts/transfers with potential to influence whether devices are used. METHODS: Participants were 108 US nursing staff in a university-based medical center and two community hospitals. A self-completed questionnaire was used to collect demographic and work characteristics, typical frequency of patient lifts/transfers, training in and typical use of lift equipment, and specific factors that could influence use. Proportional distributions of lifting/transferring and repositioning frequencies in a typical shift, amount of equipment use, and factors present were examined overall and across worker and work-related characteristics. RESULTS: Although trained in equipment use, only 40% used equipment for at least half of lifts/transfers. During lifts/transfers, factors often present included patient unable to help with lift/transfer (91.3%) or of a size/weight where participant needed assistance to help lift/transfer (87.5%); availability of others who could assist with manual lift (86.3%) or use of lift equipment (82.4%); and equipment functioning properly (86.4%), having supplies available (82.5%), and being easy to retrieve from storage (81.6%). During repositioning tasks, physical assistance was "always/almost always" provided from coworkers (83.3%) and often perceived as "very helpful" (92.6%) in reducing physical demands. Physical assistance from patients was less common (14.0% "always/almost always") yet perceived as "very helpful" by 66.3%. One fifth always used friction-reducing devices. DISCUSSION: Despite training in their use, nursing staff use of available lift equipment and assistive devices is limited. Factors present at the time of lifts/transfers that may influence equipment/device use reflect a complex mix of patient, worker, equipment, and situational characteristics.
Schoenfisch, AL; Kucera, KL; Lipscomb, HJ; McIlvaine, J; Becherer, L; James, T; Avent, S
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