What equipment should be used to move patients

There are a number of best practices that should be followed when moving and handling patients, along with specialist equipment that assists with safe handling.

Best equipment for moving and handling patients

The type of equipment needed for moving and handling patients will vary vastly dependant on the individual needs of the patient. Equipment available to carers to make moving and handling easier includes:

Transfer boards

Transfer boards are used to assist in moving patients from one piece of furniture to another. For example, from a bed to a chair. They are often made from plastic or wood and have handles to make them easy to grip. The board is placed against the patient’s back and they are then slid across onto the desired piece of furniture.

Patient lifts

Lifts are used to assist in moving patients who are unable to weight bear or who need support transferring between lying and sitting positions. They come in a range of sizes and types to suit different needs, including ceiling lifts and mobile hoists.

Slings

Slings are used with patient lifts to support the patient during transfers. They are made from a variety of materials, including mesh and fabric, and are available in different sizes and shapes to fit different patients.

Satin slide sheets

Satin slide sheets allow carers to transfer and turn patients with ease. They consist of a base and draw sheet, made of a smooth material which allows for turning whilst minimising friction on pressure points.

Swivel pads and glide cushions

Swivel pads and glide cushions are used to aid in the turning of patients. They are placed under the patient’s hips and knees, which allows them to be turned more easily.

Specialist beds

There is a range of specialist beds available which can assist in moving and handling patients. There are profiling beds, which can be adjusted to different positions, and bariatric beds, which are designed for patients who are overweight.

Choosing the right equipment

When choosing equipment for moving and handling patients, it is important to consider the needs of the individual patient. The type of equipment needed will vary depending on the patient’s strength, weight, mobility and any other health conditions they may have. It is also important to consider the carer’s own strength and abilities, as some equipment can be heavy and difficult to manoeuvre.

Using equipment correctly

When moving and handling patients, carers should always:

  • Use appropriate equipment for the individual patient
  • Seek assistance when needed
  • Avoid sudden or jerky movements
  • Use good body mechanics
  • Lift from the legs, not the back

Failure to follow these best practices can result in serious injury to both the patient and carer.

Reducing the risk of injury when handling patients

Common injuries

Injuries are common when moving patients, for both the carer and patient. Being aware of the common injuries caused by unsafe handling, means you can make an effort to avoid them.

The most common injuries carers get are back injuries. This highlights the importance of lifting from the legs and not the back.

The most common injuries caused to patients from being handled incorrectly are:

  • Damage to fragile skin
  • Shoulder and neck injuries
  • Increasing breathing difficulties
  • Cuts and bruises

How to reduce risk of injury

  • Never lift above shoulder height
  • Keep your feet stable
  • Keep your back straight and bend at the knees
  • Have a firm hold
  • Lift as smoothly as possible

Training

It is crucial to continue to undertake training on handling patients, as well as how to use any new equipment. This will help to keep you up to date with best practices and ensure you are using the equipment correctly.

Moving and handling patients in healthcare

Moving and handling is a large aspect of the working day for many carers working in healthcare. Poor handling and moving techniques can cause long lasting injuries to carers, sometimes leading to the inability to work.

What to know about moving and handling

Bad moving and handling practices can cause:

  • Muscle or joint pain – can be caused by incorrect handling techniques. It is estimated that healthcare workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for more than a third of all working days lost due to sick leave.
  • Falls and trips – can occur when walking or moving patients without assistance, or if equipment is not properly positioned.
  • Backs, shoulders and necks – are particularly vulnerable to injury if handling techniques are not correct. Poor posture when handling patients can also lead to long-term problems.

To avoid these risks, it is important to be aware of the correct moving and handling techniques. These can be learned through training courses, which are often mandatory for healthcare workers. When lifting or moving patients, always use appropriate equipment and get help from another person if necessary.

What you should do

When moving and handling patients, you must recognise the risks associated in order to manage them successfully. Here are some key points to remember:

Assess the risks –

Before moving or handling a patient, think about the safest way to do it. Consider the patient’s size, weight and condition, as well as any equipment that might be needed.

Get help if necessary –

Don’t try to move a patient on your own if you don’t have the right equipment or if the patient is too heavy.

Use mechanical aids –

There is a wide range of mechanical aids available to help with moving and handling patients. These include hoists, slings, lift sheets and transfer boards.

Follow the correct procedures –

When using mechanical aids, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use good handling techniques –

When lifting or moving a patient, use your legs to bear the weight, keep your back straight and avoid twisting.

Policy for moving and handling

A policy for moving and handling patients within your organisation, should outline safe practices and recognition of risks. A policy for moving and handling should include:

  • Recognition of all risks
  • Precautions to reduce risk
  • Use of mechanical aids
  • Good handling technique
  • Reporting of incidents
  • Clear roles and responsibilities
  • What is expected from employees
  • What support is available to individuals who are injured at work

This policy should be reviewed on a regular basis, in line with any changes in legislation or best practice. There are a number of pieces of legislation that relate to moving and handling in healthcare, including the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work.

What to use to assist with moving and handling

Specifically designed moving and handling aids can make the process safer and easier. These include:

Lift sheets

A lift sheet is a piece of fabric with handles that can be used to help lift a patient from a bed or chair.

Slings

A sling helps to support a patient’s body weight when being lifted. There are different types of slings available, depending on the needs of the patient.

Hoists

A hoist is a mechanical device that can be used to lift and move patients. Hoists can be floor-mounted or ceiling-mounted, and there are different types available depending on the needs of the patient.

Transfer boards

A transfer board is a flat piece of equipment that can be used to help move a patient from one surface to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair.

When using any of these aids, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and to be aware of the risks involved.

Satin Slide Sheets

Satin slide sheets are made from a slippery material that can be used to help move a patient up in bed, or from one surface to another. They can be used on their own or in conjunction with other moving and handling aids.

Using correct moving techniques

Moving and handling patients can be a risky task for healthcare workers if the correct techniques are not used. By following some simple tips, you can help to reduce the risks:

  • Keep your back straight and avoid twisting
  • Use your legs to bear the weight
  • Get help from another person if necessary
  • Use appropriate moving and handling aids
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Moving and handling patients can be a difficult and challenging task. However, by following some simple tips and using the correct equipment, you can help to make the process safer and easier.

 

 

 

 

How often should pressure relief be given?

Pressure relief is the moving and turning of a patient that spends long periods of time lying in bed, in order to remove continuous pressure and prevent pressure sores. The goal is to redistribute the patient’s weight and prevent further tissue breakdown.

There are many different ways to provide pressure relief, and the frequency with which it is given will depend on the individual’s needs. Some patients may need pressure relief every few hours, while others may only need it once a day.

When to give pressure relief

How often a patient should be moved in order to relief pressure is dependent on their level of risk developing pressure sores. For example, a patient who is unable to move on their own and has very thin skin would be at a higher risk for developing pressure sores and would need to be moved more frequently. However, a patient who is able to move on their own and has thicker skin would be at a lower risk and wouldn’t need to be moved as often.

Who is more likely to develop a pressure sore?

As how often a patient should be moved is dependent on their risk of developing a pressure sore, it is important to understand the risk factors of developing pressure sores.

Risk factors include:

  • Limited mobility or unable to change position without help
  • Had a pressure sore previously
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of sensation in the skin
  • Moisture on the skin
  • Skin that is thin, fragile or dry
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration

How to give pressure relief

In order to give successful pressure relief, a schedule for moving the patient should be implemented. This schedule should be individualised to the needs of the patient. The frequency of pressure relief will depend on the risk factors for developing pressure sores as well as the stage of any existing pressure sores.

Methods for relieving pressure:

  1. Use medical aids – There are many medical aids that can assist with relieving pressure for patients. These can help the carer to move the patient or position the patient in a way that will remove pressure.
  2. Support surfaces – This includes anything that the patient lies or sits on that helps to distribute their weight evenly and remove pressure. For example, specialised mattresses and cushions.
  3. Body positioning – This involves specifically positioning the patient’s body in order to remove pressure. For example, turning the patient from lying on their back to their side.
  4. Frequent repositioning – This involves regularly moving the patient, even if it is just a small amount, in order to remove pressure. For example, every 2 hours.

Equipment for assisting with pressure relief

Mattresses

If a patient is at a high risk of developing pressure sores, a specifically designed static foam or dynamic mattress. These mattresses are designed to evenly distribute the patient’s weight and reduce pressure.

If a patient already has a very serious pressure sore, a more sophisticated mattress can help with the recovery of the injury. This could be a mattress that is connected to a pump that delivers a constant air flow through the mattress.

Cushions

If a patient is at a moderate risk of developing pressure sores, a pressure-relieving cushion can be used. These cushions can be placed under the patient’s hips, knees or ankles to offload pressure. Pressure relieving cushions are available in different shapes and sizes, to best relieve different body parts.

Pillows

If a patient is at a low risk of developing pressure sores, regular pillows can be used to support the body and relieve pressure.

Satin slide sheets

An important aspect of pressure relief is moving the patient regularly. Satin slide sheets can assist with safe moving of patients. They help to reduce friction and shear when moving a patient. They can also be used to position the patient in order to remove pressure.

Satin slide sheets are placed under the patient and on top of the bed sheets. They have a low-friction surface that helps the patient to move easily and safely.

Positioning wedges

Positioning wedges are also used to help position the patient and remove pressure. They can be placed under different parts of the body, such as the hips, knees or ankles.

There are many different types of positioning wedges available. They vary in shape, size and material. Positioning wedges can be made from foam, gel or air.

Importance of pressure relief

Pressure relief is important in the prevention and treatment of pressure sores. It helps to reduce the risk factors for developing pressure sores as well as improve the healing of existing pressure sores.

When giving pressure relief, it is important to follow best practice guidelines. This will ensure that the patient receives the most effective pressure relief possible.

What is single handed care?

Due to budget cuts on health services, single handed care is becoming more common place. Simply put, single handed care is the practice of one person delivering care to a patient, where there would have typically been multiple carers.

There are many advantages to single handed care, however it does take some adjustment and usually requires the use of additional equipment.

Advantages of single handed care

The advantages of single handled care include:

Improved continuity of care for patients –

When one carer is responsible for a patient, they get to know them better and can build up a rapport. This can lead to better outcomes for patients as they feel more comfortable communicating with their carer and are more likely to adhere to treatment plans.

Reduced number of missed care opportunities

Having one carer responsible for a patient ensures that all care opportunities are captured.

Increased efficiency and productivity

Carers are not waiting around for other members of the team. This can free up time to spend with patients, providing them with much needed support and information.

Improved communication between carers and patients

Carers who are able to form trusting relationships with their patients often report increased job satisfaction. This is because they feel that they are making a real difference to people’s lives and are able to have more open and honest conversations.

Challenges of single handed care

Of course, there are some challenges that come with single handed care. These include:

The need for extra equipment

In order to carry out all the required tasks, carers may need additional equipment such as lifting aids and commodes. This can lead to higher costs for care organisations.

Increased risk of injury

Carers may be at increased risk of injury if they are trying to lift patients without the help of another person. This is why it is important that carers receive adequate training in manual handling techniques.

Patients may feel isolated

Some patients may feel isolated if they are the only person receiving care from a single carer. This is something that needs to be considered when planning care, and efforts should be made to ensure that patients still have social interactions with other people.

Equipment for assisting single handed care

Specialised equipment can insure that single handed care doesn’t have a detrimental affect on the care being given to the patient. One of the most difficult aspects of single handed care is the moving and handling of patients. With the right equipment, carers are able to handle patients single handedly with the same level of care and dignity as with multiple carers.

The equipment that can assist with single handed care includes:

Swivel pads

These can be placed under the patient to help them move without the need for manual handling.

Hoists

These can be used to move patients who are unable to weight bear.

Transfer boards

There are a wide range of transfer boards that can assist with single handed care. Transfer boards can be used to reposition or move patients, with less manual handling. This makes them useful for moving and handling patients alone.

Satin slide sheets

Satin slide sheets can hugely assist with moving and repositioning patients single handedly. They consist of a base and draw sheet which work together to reduce friction when moving the patient. They also minimise risk of injury to both the patient and carer during movement and repositioning.

Wedge pillows

Wedge pillows can be used to support patients in a variety of positions. This can make it easier to carry out personal care tasks such as washing and dressing single handedly.

The importance of single handed care

Single handed care is important as it can lead to better outcomes for patients, as well as saving on resources. However, it is important to consider the challenges of single handed care, such as the increased risk of injury, and to have the right equipment to assist with single handed care. With the right precautions in place, single handed care can be an effective way of providing care.

Why is patient positioning important?

Patients can often spend more of the day in bed than out of it, therefore patient positioning in bed is vitally important.

This is to both prevent and treat pressure sores. Pressure sores are areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue, caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long. They can be painful, slow to heal, and in some cases can lead to serious infections.

Incorrect patient positioning

Bad positing of a patient can cause various injuries. Shearing and friction are two of the main types of forces that can cause injury:

Shearing

Shearing happens when two layers of skin move in different directions. This can happen when a patient slides down in bed or when they are turned from one side to the other.

Friction

Friction occurs when two surfaces rub together, often causing a red, raw area of skin.

This can happen when a patient is dragged up the bed or when they are lifted without being supported properly. Both of these forces can cause pressure ulcers, as well as other types of injuries. To prevent these kinds of injuries, it is important to position patients correctly in bed.

When is positioning used?

Positioning is important for all patients that spend a significant portion of each day in bed. This could be due to a permanent condition or a temporary one, either way the patients condition requires them to spend long periods of time lying in bed.

Positioning is also important for patients that are at risk of falling out of bed. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as delirium, dementia, seizures, or weakness.

Positioning is important when:

  • Patient has limited or no mobility
  • Patient has pressure sores or is at risk of getting them
  • Patient is at risk of falling out of bed
  • Patient is uncomfortable when lying down
  • Patient receives hygiene or dressing procedures in bed

What are the benefits of proper positioning?

There are many benefits to positioning patients correctly, both for the patient and the staff.

Patient benefits:

  • Reduced risk of pressure sores
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved comfort
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved respiratory function
  • Easier access for hygiene and dressing procedures
  • Improved ability to communicate

Carer benefits:

  • Reduced time spent repositioning the patient
  • Reduced risk of back injuries
  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved communication with the patient

How to correctly position patients

There are many different ways to position patients, and the best way will depend on the individual patient and their needs. The most important thing is to make sure that the patient is comfortable and that their pressure areas are not being put under too much strain.

Here are some general guidelines for how to correctly position patients:

Head and shoulders

The head and shoulders should be elevated at 30 degrees. This prevents the patient from sliding down in bed and keeps their airway open.

Hips and knees

The hips and knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle. This takes pressure off of the lower back and pelvis and helps to prevent pressure sores.

Ankles

The ankles should be flexed at a 30 degree angle. This helps to improve circulation and prevent swelling.

Arms

The arms should be positioned so that they are not resting on anything or hanging off the bed. This prevents them from becoming numb and decreases the risk of pressure sores.

What to use to assist with positioning

Positioning pillow

A positioning pillow can be used to support the patients head, shoulders, and hips. This helps to keep them in the correct position and prevents them from sliding down in bed.

Turning schedule

Patients should be turned every 2 hours to prevent pressure sores. They should be turned from their back to their side and then to their stomach. This should be done slowly and with the help of at least two people.

Transfer boards

A transfer board can be used to help patients move from one position to another. This is especially helpful for patients that are unable to turn themselves.

Satin Slide Sheets

Satin Slide Sheets can be used to help patients move up in bed. They are placed under the patient and then slid up the bed. This is helpful for patients that are unable to sit up on their own.

With the right equipment, patient positioning becomes a lot easier. Positioning is important for the comfort and safety of patients. It is also important for the efficiency of carers. When positioning patients, always make sure that they are comfortable and that their pressure areas are not under too much strain.

Patient Moving and Handling Techniques

If you are a carer looking after someone with limited mobility, it is likely you will need to help them move around. Handling a patient with limited mobility can cause serious injury, therefore it is important to do so safely.

Why is it important to use certain techniques when moving patients?

There are a number of reasons why it is important to use certain techniques when moving patients:

1. To avoid injury to the patient – incorrect handling techniques can cause serious injuries including fractures, joint damage and muscle strains.

2. To avoid injury to the carer – incorrect handling techniques can also cause injuries to the carer, including back injuries.

3. To ensure the safety of both the patient and the carer – using the correct techniques will help to avoid accidents.

4. To make the task easier – using the correct techniques will make it easier to move the patient, which can reduce stress and fatigue.

Common injuries caused by patient handling

Understanding safe moving and handling processes will mean that as a carer you are much less likely to injure yourself or your patient.

The most common injury carers get that are caused by moving patients are back injuries. A back injury will significantly impact your ability to care for your patient and it could take a long time for you to recover.

For the patient, being handled incorrectly can cause neck and shoulder injuries, damage fragile skin, worsen existing breathing problems and cause bruising.

Techniques for moving and handling patients safely

There are a number of techniques that can be used when moving and handling patients safely:

1. Use mechanical aids – using devices such as hoists, slide sheets and transfer boards can help to reduce the risk of injury.

2. Good body mechanics – using good body mechanics when lifting, transferring and positioning patients can help to avoid injuries.

3. Use correct lifting techniques – using the correct lifting techniques can help to avoid injuries.

4. Use team lifts – using team lifts can help to reduce the risk of injury.

Equipment for safe handling

Specialist equipment can assist with moving and handling patients safely. This equipment includes:

Hoists –

Hoists can be used to lift and move patients who are unable to weight bear. There are a variety of hoists available, including ceiling hoists, mobile hoists and stand-alone hoists.

Slide sheets –

Slide sheets can be used to help move patients up in bed or onto a trolley. They can also be used to help turn a patient.

Satin slide sheets are a system of base and draw sheets, using these sheets together makes moving patients easier. They can be used to reposition and move immobile patients.

Transfer boards –

Transfer boards can be used to help transfer patients from one surface to another. They can also be used to help turn a patient.

Positioning aids –

Positioning aids, such as pillows, wedges and rolls, can be used to help position patients comfortably and safely.

Poles –

Poles can be used to help support patients when moving them.

Bed rails –

Bed rails can be used to help prevent patients from falling out of bed.

Seek help and training

Moving and handling patients safely is important to avoid injury to the patient and the carer. There are a number of techniques that can be used to move and handle patients safely, and specialist equipment is available to assist with this. If you are not sure how to use the equipment, you should seek help and training.

How to take care of pressure sores

A pressure sore is an area of skin that is broken due to something continuously pressing or rubbing against the skin. Pressure sores are also known as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, and bedsores.

  and these should be implemented for those that are at risk of developing the sores.

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores most commonly occur on areas of the body where there is bone close to the surface of the skin, such as the hips, elbows, heels, and tailbone. They can also occur on other parts of the body, such as the back, shoulders, and head.

Pressure sores can range in severity from a minor irritation to a large open wound. They can be painful and often take a long time to heal.

Who is at risk of developing pressure sores?

Anyone can develop a pressure sore, but some people are more at risk than others. People who are most at risk include those who:

  • Are unable to move on their own
  • Have a medical condition that causes poor blood circulation
  • Have a medical condition that affects the nerves
  • Are incontinent
  • Are malnourished or dehydrated
  • Use a wheelchair or stay in bed for a long time
  • Are elderly
  • Have fragile skin

How can pressure sores be prevented?

There are several things that can be done to prevent pressure sores. These include:

  1. Keeping the skin clean and dry
  2. Moving often to avoid putting too much pressure on one area of the body for too long
  3. Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids
  4. Using specialised equipment, such as pressure-relieving mattresses, to help reduce the risk of developing pressure sores.

What equipment is available to help prevent pressure sores?

Wheelchair cushions:

There are a number of different types of wheelchair cushions available that can help to prevent pressure sores. These include air-filled cushions, gel-filled cushions, and foam cushions.

Pressure-relieving mattresses:

Pressure-relieving mattresses are designed to reduce the amount of pressure on the body. They can be used in both hospital and home settings.

There are a number of different types of pressure-relieving mattresses available, including air-filled mattresses, gel-filled mattresses, and foam mattresses.

Sheepskins:

Sheepskins are often used to help prevent pressure sores. They can be placed on top of a mattress or wheelchair cushion.

Cushions:

Medical cushions can be used to help reduce the risk of developing pressure sores. They can be placed under the head, shoulders, or hips.

Where to get equipment to prevent pressure sores

Nordic Care are an independent supplier of healthcare products, including pressure sore preventing products. They offer a wide range of quality items, all supplied by quality manufacturers.

How can pressure sores be treated?

If a pressure sore does develop, there are a number of things that can be done to treat it. These include:

Cleaning the wound:

The wound should be kept clean and dry. This can be done by gently washing it with soap and water.

Applying a dressing:

A dressing can be used to help keep the wound clean and protected.

Using a specialised cream or ointment:

There are a number of different creams and ointments that can be used to help treat pressure sores. These include antiseptic creams, antibiotic creams, and pain-relieving creams.

Surgery:

In some cases, surgery may be required to treat a pressure sore. This can be done to remove dead tissue from the wound or to close the wound.

How long do pressure sores take to heal?

The time it takes for a pressure sore to heal will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the wound and the person’s overall health. In most cases, pressure sores will take several weeks to heal.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if you develop a sore that does not heal within a few days. You should also see a doctor if you develop a fever or redness around the wound. These may be signs of an infection.