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Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling ...

Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling ...


Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling & Movement Department of Veterans Affairs Table 2-1: Summary Table of Ergonomic Intervention Case Studies Facility Intervention Post Intervention Results Northern Virginia Training Center (Werner, 1992). Wyoming nursing facility (Stensaas, 1992). Kennebec Health System (“Empowering Workers,” 1993). Texas hospital (Fragala, 1995). Long-term care facility in CT (Fragala, 1996). United Kingdom (Logan, 1996). Mechanical lifts on 4 highrisk units. 73% reduction in injuries. Lifting-aid devices. 60% reduction in injuries. Ergonomic management program; engineering controls, including lifting devices. Lost workdays dropped to 48 from 1,097. Experience modification factor dropped from 1.8 (worse than average) to 0.69 (better than average). Insurance premiums dropped from $1.6 million to $770,293. Lifting equipment. Workers’ compensation costs for back injuries declined from $111,159 to $743. Ergonomics-based back injury prevention program, including lifting devices. Equipment for manual handling, ergonomics program for all aspects of hospital work systems. 14 74% reduction in back injuries over a 3-year period. Workers’ compensation costs $4500 vs. $174,412 preintervention. Lost workdays reduced from 1025 to 81. Reduction in injuries among caregivers; 84% decrease in lost work hours. Absenteeism due to lifting and handling reduced 98%.

Background Department of Veterans Affairs Facility Intervention Post Intervention Results Surrey Memorial Hospital (British Columbia) (Bruening, 1996; Perrault, 1995). Lawrence and Memorial Hospital (Fragala and Santamaria, 1997). Quebec nursing facility (Villaneuve, 1998). Maine facility (“Sacrificial Lamb Stance,” 1999). Ergonomics-based program; no-lift policy. Lifting aids on two highrisk units. Reduced injuries by 95%. Occupational injuries improved approximately 80%. Lost workdays decreased from 69 to 0. Restricted workdays decreased from 133 to 6. Ceiling-mounted lifts Number of lost-time injuries dropped from 26 to 6.5 per year. Annual average lost days dropped from 983 to 67. Policy for no manual lifting Drop in medical and indemnity costs from $75,000 to $5,600. As these studies show, ergonomic programs make sense and provide opportunities to create win/win situations in the VA system. When health care facilities apply innovative approaches to injury prevention, they benefit themselves, patients, and their caregivers. A higher quality of work life for health care workers results from occupational injury risk reduction, which translates into improved quality of care for the patient due to higher staff productivity and reduced turnover. These benefits can be achieved through a well-designed Ergonomic Management Program similar to the one embodied in OSHA’s rescinded Ergonomics Rule (U.S. Department of Labor, 2000). These improvements through ergonomics should come as no surprise; many non-health care organizations have reaped benefits from ergonomics for many years. The VHA has an opportunity to be one of the first large health care systems to adopt this sound ergonomic approach and to transfer this technology to enhance safety and health. 15

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