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Hum Factors. 2012 Aug;54(4):608-25.

Long-term efficacy of an ergonomics program that includes patient-handling devices on reducing musculoskeletal injuries to nursing personnel.

Author information

1
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 784, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. arun@uwm.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term efficacy of an ergonomics program that included patient-handling devices in six long-term care facilities (LTC) and one chronic care hospital (CCH).

BACKGROUND:

Patient handling is recognized as a major source of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among nursing personnel, and several studies have demonstrated effectiveness of patient-handling devices in reducing those MSDs. However, most studies have been conducted in a single facility, for a short period, and/or without a comprehensive ergonomics program.

METHOD:

Patient-handling devices along with a comprehensive ergonomics program was implemented in six LTC facilities and one CCH. Pre- and postintervention injury data were collected for 38.9 months (range = 29 to 54 months) and 51.2 months (range = 36 to 60 months), respectively.

RESULTS:

Postintervention patient-handling injuries decreased by 59.8% (rate ratio [RR] = 0.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.28, 0.49], p < .001), lost workdays by 86.7% (RR = 0.16, 95% CI [0.13, 0.18], p < .001), modified-duty days by 78.8% (RR = 0.25, 95% CI [0.22, 0.28], p < .001), and workers' compensation costs by 90.6% (RR = 0.12, 95% CI [0.09, 0.15], p < .001). Perceived stresses to low back and shoulders among nursing staff were fairly low. A vast majority of patients found the devices comfortable and safe. Longer transfer times with the use of devices was not an issue.

CONCLUSION:

Implementation of patient-handling devices along with a comprehensive program can be effective in reducing MSDs among nursing personnel. Strategies to expand usage of patient-handling devices in most health care settings should be explored.

PMID:
22908684
DOI:
10.1177/0018720812438614
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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