Handle with Care
All it takes is one bad lift to change a nurse’s life. Just one fast-paced decision has the potential to end a nursing career. That’s why the American Nurses Association (ANA) is committed to driving initiatives that prevent unnecessary injury and keep both patients and nurses safe.
Injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are often caused by manually lifting patients, and nurses are at high risk every day. The consequences can be devastating: for health care professionals, MSDs are responsible for more lost work time, more long-term medical care needs, and more permanent disabilities than any other work-related injury.
Safe Patient Handling and Mobility programs and advocacy
Through Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) programs and advocacy, ANA is working to establish a safe environment for nurses, with the complete elimination of manual patient handling as our goal.
Universal SPHM standards are required to protect nurses, across all health care settings. Without this concerted effort, nurses will continue to be needlessly injured. The use of technology, especially lifting devices, is critical to the success of these programs.
Useful SPHM resources
- Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards. Comprehensive guide from ANA.
- Implementation Guide to the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Interprofessional National Standards. Comprehensive guide from ANA
More resources on safeguarding nurse health
- NPR Special Series on Injured Nurses . National Public Radio (NPR) investigative reporter Daniel Zwerdling researched and reported a five-part series describing how tens of thousands of Registered Nurses (RN) suffer debilitating injuries from performing daily responsibilities — moving and lifting patients. Though RNs and other nursing personnel suffer more back and arm injuries than just about any other occupations, hospitals, health care systems, and government regulators often have not taken decisive action to prevent harm.
- Watch Video: Preventing Nurse Injuries. We have the assistive lifting technology and the ability to create a culture of safety to protect nurses and patients from injuries caused by manual patient handling. We must employ these strategies universally to avoid preventable career-threatening injuries to nurses.
- ANT Special Report: Safe Patient Handling and Motility – the Journey Continues. May 2016
- ANT Supplement: Current Topics in Safe Patient Handling and Mobility. September 2014
- ANA Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Brochure. May 2013
- National Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act Introduced
- Elimination of Manual Patient Handling to Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders. ANA Position Statement - Revised 3/14/08
- Stanford Risk Authority’s webinar “Making the Business Case for Safe Patient Handling”
- International Organization for Standardization's Ergonomics: "Manual Handling of People in the Healthcare Sector". 2012
- OSHA's "Ergonomic: Guidelines for Nursing Homes" . March 2009
- The Association of Save Patient Handling Professionals "Long Term Care Interest Group"
- Advancing the Science and Technology of Progressive Mobility. This white paper is a product of cooperative work between ANA and the Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals. It serves to explain the intent of the inclusion of the word “mobility” in the recent ANA publication titled “Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards.”
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