Ergonomics: Nursing Home Ambulation and Lateral Transfer

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes

The following are examples of ergonomic solutions for nursing home resident ambulation, lateral transfer, and repositioning tasks.

Ambulation

patient walking

Description: Ambulation assist device

When to Use: For residents who are weight bearing and cooperative and who need extra security and assistance when ambulating.

Points to Remember: Increases resident safety during ambulation and reduces risk of falls. The device supports residents as they walk and push it along during ambulation. Ensure height adjustment is correct for resident before ambulation. Ensure device is in good working order before use and rated for the resident weight to be lifted. Apply brakes before positioning resident in or releasing resident from device.

Lateral Transfer; Repositioning

lateral transfer

Description: Devices to reduce friction force when transferring a resident such as a draw sheet or transfer cot with handles to be used in combination slippery sheets, low friction mattress covers, or slide boards; boards or mats with vinyl coverings and rollers; gurneys with transfer devices; and air-assist lateral sliding aid or flexible mattress inflated by portable air supply.

When to Use: Transferring a partial- or non-weight bearing resident between 2 horizontal surfaces such as a bed to a stretcher or gurney while lying on their back or when repositioning resident in bed.

Points to Remember: More than one caregiver is needed to perform this type of transfer or repositioning. Additional assistance may be needed depending upon resident status, e.g., for heavier or non-cooperative residents. Some devices may not be suitable for bariatric residents. When using a draw sheet combination use a good hand-hold by rolling up draw sheets or use other friction-reducing devices with handles such as slippery sheets. Narrower slippery sheets with webbing handles positioned on the long edge of the sheet may be easier to use than wider sheets. When using boards or mats with vinyl coverings and rollers use a gentle push and pull motion to move resident to new surface.

Look for a combination of devices that will increase resident's comfort and minimize risk of skin trauma. Ensure transfer surfaces are at same level and at a height that allows caregivers to work at waist level to avoid extended reaches and bending of the back. Count down and synchronize the transfer motion between caregivers.

Lateral Transfer; Repositioning

Description: Convertible wheelchair, Geri or cardiac chair to bed; beds that convert to chairs.

When to Use: For lateral transfer of residents who are partial- or non-weight bearing. Eliminates the need to perform lift transfer in and out of wheelchairs. Can also be used to assist residents who are partially weight bearing from a sit-to-stand position. Beds that convert to chairs can aid repositioning residents who are totally dependent, non-weight bearing, very heavy, or have other physical limitations.

Points to Remember: More than one caregiver is needed to perform lateral transfer. Additional assistance for lateral transfer may be needed depending on residents status, e.g., for heavier or non-cooperative residents. Additional friction-reducing devices may be required to reposition resident. Heavy duty beds are available for bariatric residents. Device should have easy-to-use controls located within easy reach of the caregiver, sufficient foot clearance, and wide range of adjustment. Motorized height-adjustable devices are preferred to those adjusted by crank mechanism to minimize physical exertion. Always ensure device is in good working order before use. Ensure wheels on equipment are locked. Ensure transfer surfaces are at same level and at a height that allows caregivers to work at waist level to avoid extended reaches and bending of the back.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
www.osha.gov
www.dol.gov

Updated on: 09/07/12
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Ergonomics: Nursing Home Resident Repositioning
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Ergonomics: Nursing Home Resident Repositioning

Points to remember when repositioning nursing home residents in a chair or during lateral transfer in a seated position.
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