Safe Lifting News
Giving A Lift to Safe Patient Care
  May 2008  


Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to the latest issue of Safe Lifting News, a pro bono electronic newsletter designed to keep you informed about what’s happening in the world of safe patient lifting and caregiver injury prevention. Based on the increasing volume of news on this important topic, we’ve decided to increase our frequency of distribution effective with this issue. We hope you’ll agree with our decision and objectives:

  • Future newsletters will be shorter
  • You’ll spend less time scanning for relevant articles
  • News items will be more timely

Please consider contributing a question to our popular column, "Ask the Lift Doctor,” using the link below.

Warm regards,

Melissa Nowitz
Editor, Safe Lifting News


Poll Results - Safe Lifting Day

98% of last month’s respondents voted in favor of pushing ahead to adopt a “National Healthcare Safe Lifting Day.” As a result, our editorial staff will soon be in contact with healthcare stakeholders and organizations to solicit their support. If you have personal experience in accomplishing a national day or week, or if you have suggestions for how to proceed, please e-mail Melissa at the above address.


Minnesota Patient-Handling Grants
Begin Flowing

Nearly seventy health care facilities in Minnesota have been awarded grants by the Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry. The grants are helping hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and nursing homes comply with new MN patient-handling regulations that will take effect July 1. The grants are supplemented by matching funds from employers to help facilities purchase ceiling lift systems, powered stand up lifts, slide/repositioning sheets, transfer boards, slings, and track systems for lifting physically challenged patients safely and training caregivers on its use.


Bariatrics In the News

Are You a YouTube Fan? Visit the following YouTube address to see a York Hospital (PA) Fox 43 News Story featuring the benefits of bariatric ambulation using a Viking XL mobile lift.

If you know of a human interest story that’s newsworthy and involves patient lifting or caregiver injury prevention, please submit your information to our editor, thanks.


Personnel at Diversicare Management Services have created a series of specialized stickers to ensure each resident is handled according to standard assessment recommendations. Click here to read more about Diversicare’s innovative lift designation system…


From the Reading Room

Safe Lifting Initiative at UConn’s Dempsey Hospital

Between October 2002 and March 2007, workers’ compensation costs for seven departments at Dempsey Hospital with significant patient handling responsibilities decreased by 22 percent, and the average cost per injury decreased 39 percent.


Applying A Holistic Ergonomics Approach to Reduce Work-Related MSDs In A Hospital Environment

The Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, NJ, is making a significant impact on reducing Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders through programs aimed at addressing these types of injuries. Generally, WMSDs are primary loss drivers in hospitals for workers’ compensation claims. Read about a risk control methodology that includes items such as risk identification, risk analysis, strategic risk control planning, implementation of interventions, monitoring, and managing improvement strategies.


Hopital Reduces Caregiver Injuries with Safe Lifting Program

Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, NC, frequent lifting injuries are a thing of the past now that the Employee Health and Safety department has implemented a “Safe Patient Handling and Movement” program.


Risk Assessment and Process Planning
for Bariatric Patient Handling Pathways

This exhaustive UK report identifies and explores manual lifting risks and process planning for the bariatric patient’s journey or “pathway” focusing on successful management of pain, safety, dignity and comfort.


Ceiling Lifts As An Intervention to
Reduce the Risk of Patient Handling

This article documents significant reductions in musculoskeletal injuries in facilities using ceiling mounted lifts. Researchers found that ceiling lifts eliminated many of the risk factors associated with patient handling and healthcare staff using ceiling lifts have found them to be safe and effective.


Suggested Reading for Safe Lifting
Committee Members

Oregon OSHA Study

This PowerPoint presentation documents the direct and indirect costs associated with MSIs in the medical workplace. Well researched and clearly presented, this material is an important consideration whenever you are attempting to enlist administration support for a safe lifting program.


Diversicare’s Innovative System for
Designating Patient Lifts

“Diversicare Management Services has 50 long term care facilities in 9 states. Connie Ayers and Connie Lowery, both nurses oversee and implement the No Resident Lift Programs in each of the facilities under the direction of Loren Martin, Director of Loss Prevention. For several months they had been discussing that each facility used a different type label to identify the lifts and slings for each patient, and we felt a universal system should be adopted throughout all Diversicare facilities.

Both of the nurses attended "Safe Patient Handling Training" at Liko’s Safe Lifting Center in Massachusetts and during that training they heard a presentation on the Safe Lifting Portal. Both nurses thought the Portal’s symbol would be a good basic design for universal labels, so they requested assistance from Portal administrators. The Liko people worked very hard and spent a lot of time helping both Diversicare nurses develop the resulting patient labeling system.

The labels represent the type lift (T or SS – Total or Sit-to-Stand) and the number of staff required to use the lift. The color of the label represents what size sling is needed. Once the resident lift assessment is completed, the Tender Lift and Care Coordinator at the home ( " TLC" is the name of Diversicares‘ no resident lift program) places the label on the resident’s name plate. The labels are small but highly visible, giving all caregivers immediate information regarding how that resident should be transferred.

During implementation of the universal label system, the nurses did in-services to educate staff and now the Staff Development Coordinator or other designated TLC coordinator includes this as part of the orientation on the lifts. As a result, all Diversicare facilities are uniform in appearance. It has been a very positive move and has even had family members commenting on how good it looks compared to the old “anything goes” handwritten labels used.

In one of our states, even a state surveyor made a positive comment about the label. It is a very efficient system and cost effective as well. Each roll has 500 labels on it and the labels are placed in a dispenser that can be wall mounted. We were one of the first companies to develop a No resident Lift program in all our facilities and it has drastically reduced our employee injuries since the very first year it was in place with more reduction of all types of injuries and incidents over the last 5 years. We should also note that this system was not funded by the Safe Lifting Portal but by Diversicare Management Services.

The picture is from our Hartford Health Care in Hartford, Alabama. The nurse pictured is Sarah Miller, Restorative and TLC coordinator. She is shown placing a label on a new resident’s room.”

Written by Connie Lowery, LPN
Clinical Specialist & Ergonomics


Ask the Lift Doctor

Question 1:

What types of slings and lifts would you recommend for a paraplegic client?


Deanna Janes,
Red Deer Regional Hospital

Question 2:

Several of the facilities I work with have experienced a high level of resistance to using gait belts and transfer assistive devices. I attribute some of this to "change". What do you suggest to convince the staff that these devices will help? Resistance is attributed to increased time to use, increased skin tears, resident resistance, etc.


Joseph Sanna, Jr.,
Murray Risk Management and Insurance

Question 3:

I would like an updated DVD of how to lift safely. Where can I find one?


Miriam Reddel,
APS Healthcare


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