One of the most important aspects of patient handling is doing the job with care and respect. Whether you are a family member or a first aider, there are some tips that can help make the process easier. Handling a patient properly can help reduce the risk of injury and ensure their safety. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when transporting or handling a patient.
What is the Meaning of Patient Handling?
Patient handling is the process of moving and positioning patients in order to provide care and treatment. This can include activities such as transferring a patient from their bed to a wheelchair or repositioning a patient in their bed. Patient handling requires knowledge of the proper techniques to minimise the risk of injury to both the patient and the healthcare worker.
In addition, there are a variety of devices and equipment available to assist with patient handling, such as mechanical lifts, transfer boards, and slide sheets. These tools enable healthcare professionals to perform tasks manually with less effort and with a lower risk of injury.
Importance of Properly Handling Patients
To prevent injury, it’s critical to handle patients with safety and care. Proper patient handling also promotes healing and comfort. Patients who receive proper care are less likely to suffer from pain, discomfort, or other unwanted consequences.
How is Patient Handling in Adelaide?
In Australia, patients are typically handled in a very professional manner. The staff is usually well-trained and experienced in dealing with all sorts of patients. There is usually a good system in place for handling patient complaints and concerns. Overall, the patient experience in Adelaide CBD and Australia as a whole is generally positive.
Principles of Patient Handling
The objectives of patient handling are to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient and the caregiver, prevent different types of injuries and promote healing. It’s crucial to adhere to safety guidelines when carrying out patient handling tasks. There are four main principles to take note of.
Use proper body mechanics
This means using the large muscles of your body to move, rather than relying on your back or arms. When lifting a patient, for example, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
Use assistive devices when possible
These devices, such as patient lifts or transfer boards, can help reduce the risk of injury to both you and the patient.
Communicate with the patient
This includes making sure the patient is aware of what you are doing and why, as well as getting feedback about any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing.
Use proper lifting techniques
When lifting a patient, keep the load close to your body and avoid twisting or bending your spine. Use your legs to lift, rather than your back.
Who Needs to Know Patient Handling?
The proper handling of patients is something that many people need to be educated on. Anyone who provides care for a patient should know how to safely lift, move, and position them. These include:
- healthcare providers
- family members
- school staff
Different types of medical jobs require patient handling. Doctors, nurses, and therapists all have to lift, transfer, and position patients at some point in their careers. Even office staff and janitors need to know how to handle patients properly in case of an emergency.
Common Challenges Encountered
Patient handling may present a variety of difficulties, such as the potential for musculoskeletal injuries, the requirement for specialised tools and training, and the possibility of unfavourable outcomes if patients are not handled properly.
One of the biggest challenges of patient handling is the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. These injuries can occur when patients are not lifted properly or when they are moved in an awkward position. Musculoskeletal injuries can be very painful and can lead to long-term disability.
Having to use specialised tools and undergo further training presents another difficulty in patient handling. Lifting patients safely requires the use of proper lifting techniques and equipment. Many hospitals and nursing homes have special lifting teams that are trained to safely lift and move patients.
Finally, there is the potential for adverse outcomes if patients are not properly handled. Patients who are not lifted correctly or who are moved in an awkward position may suffer from falls, pressure sores, or other injuries. These injuries can result in significant pain and suffering, as well as costly medical bills.
Patient Handling Tips
There are a few key things to keep in mind when handling patients:
Always maintain good personal hygiene
This means washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, as well as ensuring that any cuts or open wounds are covered.
Be gentle and respectful when handling patients
Avoid sudden movements or anything that could startle or frighten them.
Pay attention to your body language
Smiling and making eye contact can help put patients at ease, while crossed arms or a scowl can make them feel uncomfortable.
Be aware of any special needs the patient may have
If they are blind or deaf, for example, take extra care to ensure they are not left out of conversations or activities.
Follow all infection control procedures to minimise the risk of spreading the disease
This includes properly disposing of any used gloves, masks, or other personal protective equipment.
By following these tips, you can help make the hospital stay of your patients as positive and stress-free as possible.
First Aider Assessment
Part of first aid training would include the principles of patient handling in order to provide basic life support and transfer an affected person to a more comfortable location.
There are a few different ways to handle patients, depending on their size, condition, and the distance that needs to be covered. For smaller patients, it may be possible to simply lift them into your arms. Larger patients may require you to use a stretcher or wheelchair. If the patient is able to walk, you can provide support by walking alongside them.
It’s important to always assess the situation before moving a patient, in order to ensure that you are using the best possible method and not causing them any further harm. If you are unsure of how to proceed, seek guidance from a more experienced first aider or medical professional.
What Training Do I Need for Patient Handling?
The amount and type of training you will need will depend on your specific job duties and the level of patient contact you have. However, some basic guidelines for patient handling training include:
For all healthcare workers
- An understanding of how to safely lift and transfer patients
- An understanding of the principles of good body mechanics
- An understanding of how to use available assistive devices (such as lift chairs and patient lifts) safely and effectively
For workers who have frequent or heavy patient contact
- In addition to the above, more specific training on how to safely handle and transfer patients of different sizes and weights
- Regular updates on new developments in patient handling techniques
- Ongoing assessment of your individual patient handling abilities to ensure that you are using the safest and most efficient methods possible.
Check with your employer if you are uncertain of the exact patient handling training you are required to have, or contact us at CPR First Aid for more information on the courses and qualifications that would suit you best.
CPR First Aid (RTO 21903) is a leading provider of compliant and accredited first aid courses at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000. With our top-notch and fully-qualified trainers, get CPR and first aid certified in just one day. Contact us for more information.