Manual handling injuries case studies

Handle With Care ® The American Nurses

In response to the snificant number and severity of work-related back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders among nurses, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has launched the Handle With Care® campan*. Available: Menu Categories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/Tableof Contents/Volume92004/No3Sept04/Handle With Key words: back injury, devices, ergonomics, equipment, Handle With Care Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the leading occupational health problem plaguing the nursing workforce. The risk for musculoskeletal injury secondary to manual patient handling crosses all specialty areas of nursing. The impact on the nursing workforce may lead to adverse consequences at the organizational level, as well, through increased absenteeism, lost work time, burnout, decreased retention, hh turnover, and threatened recruitment.

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The campan seeks to build a health care industry-wide effort to prevent back and other musculoskeletal injuries. Of primary concern are back injuries, which can be severely debilitating for nurses, though other types of musculoskeletal injuries can involve additional body parts such as the neck, shoulders, wrists, and knees. In 2001, for cases involving days away from work among registered nurses (total of 24,719), 4,547 were categorized as overexertion in lifting and 14,832 were listed as sprains or strains (U. The extent of musculoskeletal disorders among the U. nursing workforce is particularly distressing when contemplated in the context of the current nursing shortage.

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This is being done through developing partnerships and coalitions, education and training, increasing use of assistive equipment and patient-handling devices, reshaping nursing education to incorporate safe patient handling, and pursuing federal and state ergonomics policy by hhting technology-oriented safe-patient handling benefits for patients and nurses. Compared to other occupations, nursing personnel are among the hhest at risk for musculoskeletal disorders. Additional estimates for the year 2000 show that the incidence rate for back injuries involving lost work days was 181.6 per 10,000 full-time workers in nursing homes and 90.1 per 10,000 full-time workers in hospitals, whereas comparative incidence rates per 10,000 full-time workers were 98.4 for truck drivers, 70.0 for construction workers, 56.3 for miners, and 47.1 for agriculture workers (U. Injuries secondary to patient handling tasks compound factors such as the aging of the nursing workforce, declining retention and recruitment rates, and lowering social value of nursing to worsen the shortage problem.

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In the absence of ergonomics regulations at national or state levels that protect health care workers, ANA has taken on alternative approaches to encourage a movement to control ergonomic hazards in the health care workplace and prevent back injuries among the nation’s nursing workforce. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants ranked second and registered nurses sixth in a list of at-risk occupations for strains and sprains that included truck drivers (first), laborers (third), and construction workers (seventh) (United States Department of Labor [U. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its report Keeping Patients Safe (IOM, 2003) stated that "[t]he loss of strength and agility that often accompanies aging affects the ease with which nurses can perform patient care activities that require them to turn, lift, or provide weht-bearing support to patients" (p.71).


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