Many North Carolina nurses have to move and relocate patients on a regular basis. However, this places a considerable strain on their backs and bodies. In fact, nurses and other health care workers who move patients regularly as part of their job duties face high incidences of lifting-related injuries. Many such injuries are serious enough to result in employees taking time off from work.
According to HealthLeaders Media, the rate of injury in U.S. hospitals is 6.8 injuries for every 100 workers employed full-time. This is close to twice the injury rate seen throughout the entire private sector.
Studies show that, for every 10,000 hospital workers employed full-time, 75 of them suffer injuries caused by heavy lifting. The lifting-related injury rate is even higher in nursing homes and other residential care facilities, with 107 such injuries occurring for every 10,000 workers employed there full-time. In these settings, lifting-related injury rates exceed national averages three times over.
Some hospitals, nursing homes and other medical settings encourage their care teams to lift patients together. They do so thinking that lifting as a team reduces the individual strain on a health care provider's body. However, staffing issues often make team lifting difficult. Hospitals and other settings that have lift-assistance equipment often see lower incidents of lifting-related injuries. However, many health care providers do not have the budget for this pricy equipment.
As aging populations continue to grow and more older adults require regular medical care, the lifting-related injury rate among health care professionals may continue to increase alongside them.