Hospital management and patient’s safety is important

(Business Day) One major source of injury to healthcare workers is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

In 2010, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had the highest rates of MSDs. There were 27,020 cases, which equates to an incidence rate (IR) of 249 per 10,000 workers, more than seven times the average for all industries.

This compares to the all-worker days-away from work rate of 34 per 10,000 workers. The rate for construction laborers was 85.0, and for laborers and freight, stock and material movers the IR was 154.9, still far lower than that of nursing aides and orderlies.

In 2010, the average incidence rate for musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) cases with days away from work increased 4 percent, while the MSD incidence rate for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants increased 10 percent.

Patient Ceiling Lift

These injuries are due in large part to overexertion related to repeated manual patient handling activities, often involving heavy manual lifting associated with transferring, and repositioning patients and working in extremely awkward postures.

Some examples of patient handling tasks that may be identified as high-risk include: transferring from toilet to chair, transferring from chair to bed, transferring from bathtub to chair, repositioning from side to side in bed, lifting a patient in bed, repositioning a patient in chair, or making a bed with a patient in it.

Sprains and strains are the most often reported nature of injuries, and the shoulders and low back are the most affected body parts. The problem of lifting patients is compounded by the increasing weight of patients to be lifted due to the obesity epidemic in the United States and the rapidly increasing number of older people who require assistance with the activities of daily living.

The consequences of work-related musculoskeletal injuries among nurses are substantial.

Along with higher employer costs due to medical expenses, disability compensation, and litigation, nurse injuries also are costly in terms of chronic pain and functional disability, absenteeism, and turnover.

As many as 20% of nurses who leave direct patient care positions do so because of risks associated with the work. Direct and indirect costs associated with only back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to be $20 billion annually.

In addition, healthcare employees, who experience pain and fatigue, may be less productive, less attentive, more susceptible to further injury, and may be more likely to affect the health and safety of others

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