As we at Binder Lift continue to show healthcare professionals around the world that there really is "a SAFER way to lift BECAUSE humans don't come with HANDLES!"TM, I never cease to be amazed at the varied mindsets pertaining to patient handling. Although I believe that everyone I encounter truly thinks they are pursuing the best/safest patient handling policy, the facts tell no lies.
Recently I had the chance to meet with some healthcare professionals in acute care facilities that felt there was no need of something as simple as the Binder Lift because they have implemented policies which require mechanical lifts and prevent manual lifting greater than 35Lbs. In my world that would mean that anyone who falls and can't get up that is bigger than my 2yr/old grandson would have to wait until someone with a mechanical device could show up. Those of you in the EMS side of health care are probably laughing and shaking your heads about now because the reality is that this is just not practical. Some of you EMT's may be saying "too bad that policy doesn't apply to us" so that you wouldn't have to deal with that burdensome task of lifting someone off the floor and the associated risk of injury that comes with it.
Although I certainly understand this sentiment, the sad reality is that despite the "good intentions" of preventing injuries by implementing prohibitions, the fact is that injuries are still occurring. Why? In fact, if the cause of back injuries was lifting more than 35lbs then those states or facilities with "no lift" policies should have a near "zero" injury rate, but they don't. After all, (assuming you could tow a Hoyer lift behind your ambulance) this whole problem could be solved if we would just stop manually lifting people, right?! Am I the one being absurd? Trust me when I share with you that due to the failure of "no lift" policies to achieve their intended results, there is now discussion in certain circles about eliminating trips to the bathroom which is where 33% of all falls take place! Just think about that... no bathrooms... no falls in the bathrooms, makes perfect sense. Problem solved?
Well... no. At the end of the day the question should not be "how much can/did you lift?" The question really should be "how do you lift?" My question to all of you in the healthcare industry is "where are the "handles" in your patient handling?" Can you imagine how difficult it would be to travel with a suitcase if it had no handles? I can just imagine seeing everyone running to and fro at the airport while trying to hug their suitcases. Yet that's the typical method still being taught within EMS today. I know that if you're reading this that you've probably already discovered the benefits of the Binder Lift handles, so I'm just preaching to the choir. But if you haven't tried attaching handles to your patient, would you consider removing the handles from your suitcase?
Safe lifting is dependent upon good ergonomics....period. Good ergonomics begins with proper (lifting) posture. Proper posture begins with proper handles. Handling should not be confused with hugging. Hugging is only good when lying down OR when standing up. Never while you are standing up. HUG... your spouse. "Handle" your patient. Binder Lift ...."Where Patient Handling Begins!" TM
Until next time, be safe.