Care Partners and Back Injury Prevention

by Lenore Morton, COTA/Lcare partner and care giver

At Accessible Systems, we are committed to making life more accessible for our clients. Accessibility can mean not only having a better ways to navigate the home environment, but also easing the way care is supplied by a care partner. The term care partner is a way to show the partnership between a person receiving care and the person giving care. Both people are in a relationship of care partnering. Not only is the recipient of traditional care receiving benefit, but the person providing the traditional care is receiving benefit. For example, like giving and receiving a smile, both folks benefit – physical and emotional benefits happen as both smile and interact. Similar interactions occur in care partnering.    So from here on out, I will refer to this care relationship in terms of care partners.

Care partners who are manually lifting their loved ones are at risk for back injuries. Due to weight, repetitive motions, and instabilities of the care partner being moved, it is often just a matter of time before someone gets injured.

Back Injury Care PartnerInjuries that can occur are one person is dropped or back or body strain occurs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Numerous studies have shown that training caregivers on how to use proper body mechanics to lift residents is not an effective prevention measure because lifting the weight of adult patients is intrinsically unsafe.” They also note that, “the single greatest risk factor for overexertion injuries in healthcare workers is the manual lifting, moving and repositioning of patients, residents or clients, i.e., manual patient handling.” 

What they recommend is a no lift policy, training and using mechanical lifts.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) explains that workers who are at risk for back injury are those who “lift and move patients” among others. In their prevention recommendation section they tell us ”injuries can be prevented by eliminating tasks that require lifting, using equipment to perform lifts”  AFSCME recommends to prevent injury include, overhead track lifts, portable total lifts, sit-to-stand lifts, devices for lateral transfer, easy to slide inflatable mattresses, reduced friction sheeting, transfer boards, gait belts with handles that fit around the patient’s waist.  We can see by this expert information that a care partner can be more effective and prevent injury by taking these recommendations. What is most helpful is that these systems and products are available. This is where Accessible Systems can hceiling liftelp.

What Accessible Systems does to partner up with home owners is provide an easy, high-quality lift system and products in your home that can take all the human lifting out of the equation. We are the local distributor for most of the lift and care equipment and systems and I would love to come see where the “hot spot” transfer points are in your home and make a professional assessment for your individual needs. The best approach will be evaluated with the care partners and your concerns will be addressed. There are several different ways this can take form in your home. There are ceiling lifts, wall lifts, mobile lifts and many aids that can help in positioning as well as support devices. We have been in business for 17 years working with accessibility issues let us be part of your care partner team and make recommendations for you.




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