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Moving patients a common cause of injury in health care

Today’s nurses make their living in an inherently dangerous line of work, and the work-related hazards they face every day on the job are plentiful. While simply working in close proximity to ailing people has the potential to impact your health, nurses also face threats from violent patients or family members in addition to a broad range of other possible hazards.

While modern nurses face numerous work-related health hazards, Healthcare Business & Technology reports that some of the most common injuries suffered by today’s working nurses result from moving patients. Workplace injuries that result from heavy lifting have become so widespread, in fact, that nurses suffer in excess of 35,000 lifting-related injuries annually that are bad enough to keep them out of the workplace. Just why is it that so many nurses are suffering serious back, neck and musculoskeletal injuries that have the potential to impact their quality of life, and are medical providers doing anything to help their workers?

Why lifting injuries are common

Moving patients from, say, beds to gurneys, or from gurneys to surgical tables, takes considerable effort, and often, these responsibilities fall on nurses. While lifting in groups can help reduce your injury risk to some extent, finding groups to perform lifts is difficult in and of itself in many health care settings, many of which already suffer from chronic understaffing problems.

You can also typically lower your lifting-related injury risk by consistently using proper lifting techniques, but again, this can prove difficult in many health care environments. While it is safer and better for your body to lift heavy objects when they are close to you, the fact that most patients are in bed or otherwise laying down when you lift them makes this far more difficult.

Some health care providers are making improvements in their work environments to help reduce lifting-related injury risks. For example, some employers are purchasing lift-assistance equipment to help take some of the burden off their nurses and other staff members. Others, though, have been slow to embrace such changes, and this is likely due, at least in part, to the investment involved.

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