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Patient Safety: Pay Now or Pay Later

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2013

The standards are:

  1. Establish a culture of safety
  2. Implement and sustain a safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) Program
  3. Incorporate ergonomic design principles to provide a safe environment of care
  4. Select, install, and maintain SPHM technology
  5. Establish a system for education, training, and maintaining competence
  6. Integrate patient-centered SPHM assessment, plan of care, and use of SPHM technology
  7. Include SPHM in reasonable accommodation and post-injury return to work
  8. Establish a comprehensive evaluation system

During the call, Daley and other speakers made a strong case for the use of technology, such as ceiling lifts, to assist in moving, lifting, and repositioning patients. She said that musculoskeletal injuries are a primary reason healthcare workers leave direct patient care, adding that often healthcare workers don't get injured by a single event.  

Rather, most injuries are the result of the cumulative effect of lifting heavy loads day in and day out for years, which can lead to long-term disorders and disability, Daley said.  

She also cited 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics showing that nursing professions are among the top five occupations in the number of musculoskeletal disorder-related on-the-job injuries or illnesses that require missed days from work. In fact, nursing assistants topped the list, beating out laborers, janitors, and truck drivers.  

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