The Monday Memo
October 19, 2015 PITT DPT STUDENTS
“A Remark on Body Mechanics”
In a recent article published in the APTA’s PT in Motion October 2015 issue, “Health Care Worker Injuries Due to Patient Handling Continue to Rise,” health care workers continue to rank among the highest amount of injuries at work according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Number 1, in fact. While the injuries include a wide variety of categories, patient handling was shown to be the most common source of injury.
From this evidence, numerous questions arise. How do Physical Therapists fit into the problem? Are we a part of it? What is the solution? How can we be a part of prevention and education for our colleagues?
One good place to start is in school. At the University of Pittsburgh, there isn’t a day we aren’t talking about body mechanics. Raising and lowering the treatment beds, adjusting body position for optimal manual muscle testing, roll playing in gait or transfer training to work our way through every possible scenario . . . There is no doubt we will be equipped for success in the field regarding body mechanics.
Now equipped with these tools, it becomes our responsibility to educate patients, their families, caretakers, as well as our colleagues on the safest body positioning to reduce the most risk. This also includes the use of lifting equipment, calling on others to assist in a transfer, and holding others to safer standards. Create a culture around safety. Create a supportive environment for your colleagues. Look out for one another before, during and after patient treatment sessions. Have the courage to ask for help when necessary.
By creating safe environments for both patients and employees, we maximize the potential for healing. After all, if we as physical therapists aren’t engaging in safe behavior, how can we expect our patients to? How can we expect ourselves to provide the best therapy if we are injured? It’s in your best interest, as well as your patient’s.
Citation: “Health Care Worker Injuries Due to Patient Handling Continue to Rise.” PT in Motion 7.9 (2015): 55. Print.
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