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Safe patient handling – saves money

Premier Communications

SafetyShare® newsletter brought to you by the Premier Safety Institute ®
Gina Pugliese, RN, MS, editor


Safe patient handling – saves money

Safe patient handling programs reduce back injuries,
improve patient safety, and save money

It is estimated that the healthcare industry spends more than $20 billion on costs related to occupational back injuries, with nursing staff, including
aides and orderlies reporting the most working days off from work-related back pain, an estimated three quarters of a million days. Twelve percent of
nurses report that they left the nursing profession because of back pain.

Obesity and age – contributing factors

With more than 37 percent of the U.S. adult population now being considered obese, the lifting hazards for caregivers have increased. In addition, as our
nursing workforce ages (average age 46 years) and we have the expected 20 percent shortage by 2015, protecting our workforce and reducing back injuries are

Reduced reimbursement for patient harm

Inadequate solutions for patient lifting and movement can also result in harm to the patient from falls, one of the CMS preventable hospital-acquired
conditions being monitored for reduced reimbursement.

Lifting equipment and no-lift policies reduce worker injuries

Research has shown that injuries and workers compensation costs could be significantly reduced with comprehensive programs that incorporate the use of
mechanical lift and repositioning equipment. A safe no-lifting policy, modified duty and medical care for pre-existing injuries, and staff training and
compliance with equipment use and lifting policies are also needed. Initial investments for lifting equipment and worker training can be recovered in two
to three years when considering workers compensation costs, as well as indirect costs, including lost wages, cost of hiring and retraining workers.

New web site

The Premier Safety Institute has launched a new website on
back injury prevention and safe patient handling with tools, resources, case studies
and links to successful programs.


Safety Institute




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