In the health care field patients must be moved frequently to relieve pressure points and prevent bedsores. According to studies of registered nurses, every time a medical professional lifts or moves a patient a 75 percent chance of back injury exists. As a result,
health care worker injuries
are commonplace for Connecticut workers who must lift patients.
A new California law designed to protect nurses and other health care workers passed the state legislature in October. The bill had been rejected several times by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The California Nurses Association and National Nurses United sponsored the bill as a way to protect nurses and patients from injuries related to manual lifting. The groups are pushing for a federally mandated Safe Patient Handling and Lifting standard for all hospitals and medical personnel.
The issue of safe handling of patients has been discussed in the U.S. Senate. The scope of the problem will only continue to increase as the workforce ages and the obesity epidemic continue in the United States. Alternatives to manual patient moving are also available and cost-effective to implement.
Connecticut has not yet followed the California example to pass its own law specifically targeting safe patient moving. However, a federal mandate may make a state-by-state approach unnecessary.
Patient Lifting Services
The human body, especially in a limp condition, can be very difficult to manipulate and transport. In most cases, the registered nurse (RN) assigned to the patient is not the best-suited medical professional to handle this work. Under the new California law, the hospitals have the option of specially training lifting teams to come in and do the heavy work.
Supporters of the California bill expressed interest in having specially trained staff for lifting patients. People and companies whose expertise is around safe lifting will protect hospitals and will reduce the incidence of
Additional training for specific workers, who handle lifting duties, will protect health care workers and be a safer option for patients. If you are a health care worker injured while moving a patient, contact an experienced health care worker injury lawyer to discuss available remedies.