As part of health care provision, medical personnel find many situations where they need to move patients. The correct moving procedure has to be followed and yet many of them do not know the right way to do this. Without mandatory training for nurses and care staff, more injury can be caused as a result of moving the patient incorrectly.
The risk of injury does not just affect the patient, but also those that do the moving. Manual lifting of patients can cause sprains and other back injuries which can be prevented if medical personnel is provided mandatory training for nurses and care staff that includes learning how to move patients.
Even what may seem like a simple task like repositioning a patient in bed can result in injury if not carried out correctly. The patient can end up falling off the bed or the caregiver may injure their back trying to lift a patient heavier than them. Let us take a look at some of the techniques that can be used to move patients.
Using Slide Sheets to Move a Patient in a Tight Space
Slide sheets are used in a situation where a victim is on the ground in cramped space where a hoist cannot be used. The slide sheet aids in the movement of the patient from the tight space to an area where the hoist can then be used. It is a technique that requires more than one person to perform otherwise a lone helper may have to call for assistance.
After assessing the situation, the helper needs to get the slide sheet under the hips of the victim. The hip area usually rests with more weight on the ground which will make it possible to perform this movement.
As one person attends to the top, another person can place another sheet under the top half of the body. Later, two7 people can drag the sheet with the patient to an area with more space where they can use a hoist to move the patient. This technique is simple but effective and avoids any injury. Of course, you need to check the area where you are dragging the patient to ensure no object may cause damage.
Repositioning or Moving a Patient on the Bed
Before moving the patient, it is important to observe the situation in which they are in. Confirm if they are able or unable to sit up or even get off the bed, and check the linen to ensure it will not create any complication while moving.
One alternative for repositioning is to give instructions to the patient to safely change position without the carer having to hold them. This can be done for patients who have the energy to roll from one side of the bed to the other. Caution, however, has to be taken to prevent them from rolling off the bed. Instructions like getting them to raise one knee off the bed with the foot flat on the bed can ensure that when they change position, the raised leg will then rest on the bed in a way that further movement off the bed is restricted.
The type of bed in which the patient is in can also reduce the need to reposition them often. Always ensure the right type of bed is used.
Communication When Moving
Communication plays an important role when moving patients. For example, something as simple as counting needs to be a common procedure. All the carers need to have a common counting procedure or some words that can get them ready to lift. It could be “one, two, three, lift” or “ready, steady, go” it is however best to end with a familiar word that will let the patient know what to expect, like “lift” or “stand”.
The health staff can also develop non-verbal communication among themselves such as eye contact which can make their actions synchronized and avoid errors or miscalculation.
Communication also has to be clear with the patient. They should know how they will be moved and what to expect during a procedure. Explaining to them everything from the start is best so that they can also inform the medical staff what they may be comfortable with and what they may not.
This also means that you should confirm if the patient understands what language you use for communication or if they need an interpreter as well as if they can hear well and see.
When communicating with a patient, use simple language that they can understand as opposed to jargon that is best left for fellow practitioners.
Moving patients is a wide subject with so many aspects that form the core skills training framework which also goes beyond just moving. Health workers and all medical practitioners, as well as caregivers, need to learn and understand all of the aspects to ensure the safety of the patient as well as their own.