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Suggestions for preventing musculoskeletal disorders in home healthcare workers: part 1: lift and transfer assistance for partially weight-bearing home care patients.

Parsons KS; Galinsky TL; Waters T
Home Healthc Nurse 2006 Mar; 24(3):158-164
Overexertion from lifting and moving patients is a common cause of work-related injuries among health care personnel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (1992), overexertion injuries are those that result from excessive physical effort during activities such as lifting, pulling, pushing, turning, and carrying. For several years, the overexertion injury rate in home healthcare workers has been more than double the national rate for all industries, ranking among the 10 highest reported by the BLS (1994-2001). Among all injuries/illnesses experienced by healthcare workers, overexertion injuries in the back, shoulders, and neck are the most prevalent. Studies reviewed by Galinsky et al. (2001) indicate that home healthcare workers have higher musculoskeletal loads, more frequent stressful postures, and higher rates of injuries and sick leave than do many other occupational groups, including manual laborers, such as construction workers. The level of exertion required to assist a patient often depends on the patient's physical capabilities. Approaches for assisting patients who can bear very little or none of their own weight will be described in the second article of this series, which will appear in the next issue of this journal. Approaches for assisting patients who have a higher degree of upper body strength or weight-bearing ability are described in the current article. This article also discusses equipment to help prevent musculoskeletal injury. It should be noted that the use of sound ergonomic principles along with suitable equipment is necessary for minimizing the risk of injury. In addition, staff should be aware of their organization's policies related to equipment and its safe use. For example, some home health agencies have a policy requiring that a physical therapist accompanies the home health aide on the first visit if the lift/transfer device is a part of the patient's plan of care.
Injuries; Injury-prevention; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Health-care; Health-care-personnel; Workers; Worker-health; Occupational-health; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Low Back Disorders
Source Name
Home Healthcare Nurse
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division