We have seen it for years… Spouses getting injured enough to land them in the ER, all while “helping” their loved one get out of bed or out of a favorite chair.. The injuries in hospitals among nursing staff i, nursing homes, and other care facilities have had the highest workman comp claims for years. More than Firefighter, deep sea fishers, and loggers combined. Yes combined!
The United States has been so many years behind the European countries that require mechanical assistance for patience’s over 25 kilos (about 55 pounds). However finally I have come across an online article stating ”The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will announce Thursday (June 25th, 2015) that it’s going to crack down on hospitals, for the first time ever, to prevent an epidemic of back and arm injuries among nursing employees.
Yet I still see people picking up people weighing 100 pounds or greater regularly. According to the article “OSHA’s staff is so small compared to its mission that OSHA officials estimate it would take 100 years to inspect every workplace in the nation just once.”
So what can you do?
David has always said “one is ok two is too many”. He is referring to the number of arms you use to help. One arm is ok to use when helping someone up but using two arms is too many, you risk for injury is just enormous. It is an involuntary reaction to try and catch someone that is falling. Believe me when I say that the caregiver will always be hurt significantly more that the patient who is actually falls.
At 97 years old my Dad became frail. He weighed only 130 pound, but I could not pick him up. When he sat in the “wrong chair” got stuck and couldn’t get up by himself we made adjustments. The first was installing a safety bar at the toilet, which gave him just enough oomph so he could get himself up. The safety bars in the shower were already installed because I fell in the shower and passed out; I woke about the same time the paramedics arrived. Luckily I only dislocated a finger and bruised in several places.
As my Dad became stuck in more places and more frequently we used a floor standing patient transfer lift. It picked him up using a sling and a push of a button on my end. At that point I could place him in a chair that he could get out of. At the very end of his life he was bedridden; we used the transfer sling and lift to change him and to change his bedding. Caring for a loved one is stressful enough, a painful back injury for me my sister or any of the caregivers unacceptable!