Ergonomics: Nursing Home Resident Lifting and Repositioning
Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes
The recommended solutions presented in the following pages are not intended to be an exhaustive list, nor does OSHA expect that all of them will be used in any given facility. The information represents a range of available options that a facility can consider using. Many of the solutions are simple, common sense modifications to equipment or procedures that do not require substantial time or resources to implement. Others may require more significant efforts. The integration of various solutions into the nursing home is a strategic decision that, if carefully planned and executed, will lead to long-term benefits. Administrators should also be cognizant of several factors that might restrict the application of certain measures, such as residents' rehabilitation plans, the need for restoration of functional abilities, other medical contraindications, emergency conditions, and residents' dignity and rights.
The procurement of equipment and the selection of an equipment supplier are important considerations when implementing solutions. Employers should establish close working relationships with equipment suppliers. Such working relationships help with obtaining training for employees, modifying the equipment for special circumstances, and procuring parts and service when needed. Employers will want to pay particular attention to the effectiveness of the equipment, especially the injury and illness experience of other nursing homes that have used the equipment. The following questions are designed to aid in the selection of the equipment and supplier that best meets the needs of an individual nursing home.
Availability of technical service - Is over-the-phone assistance, as well as onsite assistance, for repairs and service of the lift available?
Availability of parts - Which parts will be in stock and available in a short time frame and how soon can they be shipped to your location?
Storage requirements - Is the equipment too big for your facility? Can it be stored in close proximity to the area(s) where it is used?
If needed, is a charging unit and back up battery included? What is the simplicity of the charging unit and space required for a battery charger if one is needed?
If the lift has a self-contained charging unit, what is the amount of space necessary for charging and what electrical receptacles are required? What is the minimum charging time of a battery?
How high is the base of the lift and will it fit under the bed and various other pieces of furniture?
How wide is the base of the lift or is it adjustable to a wider and lockable position?
How many people are required to operate the lift for lifting of a typical 200-pound person?
Does the lift activation device (pendant) have remote capabilities?
How many sizes and types of slings are available? What type of sling is available for optimum infection control?
Is the device versatile? Can it be a sit-to-stand lift, as well as a lift device? Can it be a sit-to-stand lift and an ambulation-assist device?
What is the speed and noise level of the device? Will the lift go to floor level? How high will it go?
Based on many factors including the characteristics of the resident population and the layout of the facility, employers should determine the number and types of devices needed. Devices should be located so that they are easily accessible to workers. If resident lifting equipment is not accessible when it is needed, it is likely that other aspects of the ergonomics process will be ineffective. If the facility can initially purchase only a portion of the equipment needed, it should be located in the areas where the needs are greatest. Employers should also establish routine maintenance schedules to ensure that the equipment is in good working order.
The following are examples of solutions for resident lifting and repositioning tasks.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
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