In the normal course of proving care for almost 45 years, we have been asked many times to have our caregivers Lift Patients, who are Total Weight. This is not assisting to help stand, or assisting them to transfer from bed to a wheelchair, where the individual with assistance, can stand, pivot, and help with some self assist but a Total Weight Lift!
Thus prevention of back injuries to our caregivers and the safety of the patient is vital.
Below is Article on Lifting published with permission from the Pride Ag Resources – First Quarter 2019 Publication. Pride Ag Resources is an Agricultural Co-Op in the Southwestern Kansas (Dodge City) area. In agriculture work, there is a lot of lifting, (not of humans) but of a lot of things, and thus there is a great concern for preventing Co-Op members from having back injuries. (Read the article Below).
BACK INJURY PREVENTION – BY USING A NEW WAY TO LIFT
By Skyler Hayes Safety Director- Safety Division
Almost 80% of Americans will experience some kind of back pain sometime in their lives.
It will cost $150,000,000,000 this year in the United States in direct and indirect costs as a result of back pain. This includes cost for pain medications, back surgery, trips to doctors and chiropractors, lost time at work, worker’s compensation costs and litigation.
There is also the decrease in quality of life if one is affected by back pain. Often the cause of the back pain is improper lifting, which often injures the lower back.
In the past, we were told to approach the item to be lifted, place our feet shoulder width apart, bend our knees while keeping our back straight, grasp the item and “lift with your legs.”
This way of lifting was wrong for several reasons.
Keeping our feet only shoulder width apart forced us to stand on the balls of our feet when we bent our knees to get low enough to grasp the item, which was an awkward stance. It also forced us to often bend our knees so far that it placed a lot of strain on our knees and reduced the lifting power of our legs, which made it difficult to stand up due to the angle.
When we did stand up with the load, having our feet only shoulder width apart forced us to move the item away from our bodies to clear our knees which were in the way.
This holding the load away from our bodies put great strain on our lower backs.
Although no approach has been found for totally eliminating back injuries caused by lifting, let me discuss a new way to lift items that you may prefer.
Approach the item and with the last step position your feet much wider than shoulder-width apart. This will allow you to keep both feet flat on the ground, which is a less awkward stance.
It will also allow you to reach down and grasp the item without having to bend your knees as far as if your feet were only shoulder-width apart, which is much easier on the knees and will not reduce the lifting power of your legs as much.
If the item does not have handles, you may want to approach it from an angle and tip one end of it up to allow you to grasp the corners. After you have a hold on the item, lift your head and chest, which will position your hips forward for the optimal lifting position,
Then stand up, keeping the item as close to your body as possible by lifting it straight up, similar to the way an elevator goes straight up.
This new way of lifting will help to prevent back injuries, but you can also prevent injuries by not lifting heavy or awkward items. If possible, use cranes, bag carts, forklifts, etc. instead of using your body to lift. If you must lift something heavy or awkward, have someone help you.
As we stated at the beginning, we have been asked many times to Lift a Total Weight Patient.
We have learned through Experience over 45 years in business, that Lifting a Total Weight Patient is not a good policy, due to the potential for back injuries to the Care Giver, and even the potential for injury to the patient.
It is said that one definition of experience – is;
You get the Test First and then (hopefully) You Learn the Lesson.
At Always Care we learned the lesson – the hard way, but we did learn the lesson.
Thus we do not allow an Individual* (one person) Caregiver to lift a Total Weight Patient.
Today there are available many “Equipment options” that are better for the safety of both persons, depending on each individual patient needs, costing a lot less than a back injury in the long run. The estimated cost of a Back Injury to a worker, can be more than $100,000.00 plus, not to mention their health issues.
Some are listed below – Check with Equipment Dealers on Cost. Rentals may be available.
- Chairs (Electrical Recline/Stand) $500-$3,000 April 2019 – We helped acquire a used one recently.
- Hospital Bed (That raises and lowers) Much easier to assist/transfer/care for the patient.
- A trapeze attached to Hospital Bed for the patient to pull up on.
- A trapeze on Floor Stand [Behind chair or other Bed] for the patient to pull up on.
- Patient Lift (Manual or Electrical) [Hoyer or other brands]
- Other equipment, Shower; Chair/Bench/Seat, Commode Chairs, Transfer Boards
- *Lastly, a Two (2) Caregiver Lift [ Maybe? – depending on the weight of Patient and the Care Givers.]
Always Care will be happy to consult with Clients and Family regarding options available.