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Medical facilities can help prevent an injured worker claim

A great deal of attention has been focused lately on the high volume of workplace injuries suffered by nurses in California and across the nation. The issue has prompted debate about the role medical facilities play in promoting safe workplace environments and taking actions to reduce the number of workplace injuries that nurses experience while caring for patients. A recent article looks at circumstances that often lead to an injured worker claim and makes suggestions on how to reduce the rate of injuries for nursing staff.

One of the chief causes of nursing injuries involves physically moving patients. When an ill or injured patient must be moved in order to transport him or her to another area of the hospital or simply to allow the staff to complete basic nursing tasks, a great deal of strength is often required to complete that task. When a patient is large, the difficulty in moving him or her is increased, placing a larger burden on the nursing staff.

Multiple studies have examined the issue, and recommendations have been made on how to increase workplace safety when it comes to lifting and moving patients. One solution is for facilities to invest in equipment that essentially moves patients for the nurses. One such option is a powered ceiling hoist, although a wide range of lifting equipment is available. This device and other similar devices still require that nursing staff be given training on how to operate the machines safely and effectively.

Staffing levels are another way that hospitals and other facilities can reduce nursing injuries related to moving patients. When staffing levels are high, nurses can call upon others to assist with moving patients, especially when the patients are large. Staffing levels should be based on the levels of need of the patients being served and provide more nurses in settings in which higher levels of care must be provided.

By evaluating the existing level of workplace safety in a given California medical facility, management can determine if additional measures should be taken. By making use of devices designed to assist in lifting patients, as well as ensuring that proper staffing levels are in place, it is possible to reduce the number of injured worker claim cases filed by nursing staff. This is an outcome that suits the goals of management, nurses and the patients that they serve.

Source: NPR, "Hospital To Nurses: Your Injuries Are Not Our Problem", Daniel Zwerdling, Feb. 18, 2015

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