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Moving patients a common cause of injury in health care

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As someone who makes a living working in a health care, you probably know all too well that your line of work exposes you to a considerable level of risk. Regardless of whether you work in a hospital, doctor’s office, rehabilitation center or in the homes of your patients, you face similar on-the-job hazards. One such hazard involves moving heavy patients.

When you think about your on-the-job risks, you may think about things like needle-stick injuries, exposure to illness and related hazards. However, according to Healthcare Business & Technology, moving heavy patients is where one of your most sizeable health risks lie. It is an effort that leads to more than 35,000 back and musculoskeletal injuries among nurses every year.

Proper lifting techniques only help so much

Hospital administrators and other employers of nurses are becoming increasingly aware of the risks presented by moving heavy, immobile patients. Many of them have ramped up their efforts to train employees on safe lifting practices. Regrettably, however, taking care to always utilize proper lifting techniques only helps so much.

Why? Even when you religiously follow all safety protocols, lifting still places a considerable strain on your back and spine. In other words, when you repeat similar lifting motions over and over again, your back and spine suffer, regardless of technique.

Lifting risks

There are, however, some clear lifting behaviors that make you more prone to injury than others. For example, many nurses who suffer back or repetitive strain injuries develop them because they bend their knees when lifting, which can offset how your body distributes the weight it bears. Others develop injuries because they have to move patients up and out of bed, but they can only get so close to patients before doing so. Typically, nurses find it easier to lift things closer to their bodies, but bed-ridden patients make this all but impossible.

In addition to affecting you physically, injuries caused by heavy lifting can take an emotional toll, too. In some cases, they can lead to career burnout and even depression.

Nurses who have suffered injuries while working are eligible for workers' compensation benefits. If you have questions about a claim, speak with an attorney.

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