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Lifting patients a frequent cause of injury among nurses

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Nurses in Louisiana face a high risk of sustaining a work-related injury. They face an especially high chance of suffering an injury caused by heavy lifting. Many lifting-related injuries could be preventable if hospitals and other health care operations invested in certain types of technology and equipment. Yet, many health care providers lack the budget necessary to make these investments.

Per HealthLeaders Media, the injury rate among health care workers in hospitals is much higher than that seen in most other industries. In fact, lifting-related injury rates at hospitals are almost twice as they are in all other industries. Workers in nursing homes, in particular, face a lifting-related injury rate that is three times as high as the national average.

Common causes of lifting-related injuries

Many lifting-related injuries are the result of nurses moving heavy patients. Often, this involves moving a patient from a bed to a wheelchair, or from a wheelchair back to a bed. Some health care settings encourage team lifting, thinking that lifting patients as a team distributes the patient’s weight more evenly. However, many hospitals and health care settings lack adequate staff. This may make it difficult or even impossible to find enough workers to help lift patients when the need arises.

Safety protocols that help prevent lifting-related injuries

Some safety advocates argue that nurses should never attempt to lift more than 35 pounds. Many also attest that hospitals should buy lift-assistance equipment that takes some of the strain away from nurses. However, buying lift-assistance equipment involves a large investment. These machines often cost between about $6000 and $16,000 apiece. Yet, advocates argue that they often pay for themselves by reducing injuries and associated workers’ compensation costs.

The baby boomer population continues to age, and the average lifespan among Americans continues to increase. The number of nurses and other health care professionals suffering injuries caused by moving patients is likely to grow alongside them.

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