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The use of lifting equipment to maneuver patients in the nursing home setting is helpful to patients and beneficial to workers, lowering the incident of workplace injury.

The National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published a study establishing that Nursing Home investment in mechanized patient lifting equipment pays for itself. According to NIOSH, the use of such equipment has resulted in

a 61 percent reduction in resident-handling workers’ compensation injury rates; a 66 percent drop in lost workday rates; and a 38 percent decline in restricted workdays. [ Also,] the rate of post-intervention assaults during resident transfers was down 72 percent based on workers’ compensation claims, 50 percent based on OSHA 200 Logs and 30 percent based on first reports of injury data.

This equates to better care for residents and a safer working environment for care providers.

Lynch Ryan’s weblog on workplace safety and health discusses how proper training in safe lifting and body mechanics can prevent injury. According to NIOSH, however, training alone is ineffective as a prevention strategy because “lifting the weight of adult patients is intrinsically unsafe.” It’s also important to note that the equipment alone won’t do it – workers also need to be trained how to use the equipment, and management must implement and enforce a “zero lifting” policy.

Accordingly, if a loved one is injured as a result of a fall at a nursing home while being moved, critical investigation is warranted not only into whether the proper equipment was utilized but also as to the proper training provided by the institution to its staff.

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