Mobilizing patients is associated with improved outcomes and shorter length of stay; however, healthcare workers are at risk of injury during patient handling activities such as lifting and repositioning. When New York state passed laws on safe patient handling in 2015, A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital (of the Basset Healthcare Network) began an initiative to identify areas for improvement and reduce staff injury.
The hospital first conducted a gap analysis and needs assessment, including an analysis of staff injury data and review of available equipment. Next, A.O. Fox established a safe patient movement committee, which contracted with a reputable company specializing in patient movement to obtain new equipment, training and support. Their goal was to decrease the number of staff injuries to less than three per quarter.
The committee developed and implemented the program using the Plan-Do-Study-Act methodology. The team automated the employee incident reporting program while educational tools provided timely data to continuously improve the program. Among the improvements were modifications to the new employee orientation program, development of educational tools and a safe patient movement resource portal on the intranet. Reports from this program are given to hospital safety, management review and the board to assist in removing barriers and monitoring corrective actions.
The number of staff injuries related to safe patient handling has decreased to zero since September 2019. In turn, with fewer injuries, the number of Workers’ Compensation cases and associated costs have decreased. Additionally, the hospital has maintained zero patient hospital-acquired injuries from falls or skin breakdown.
For more information, contact Dorraine Young, BSHA, CPHQ, manager, quality and patient safety, at 607.431.5061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.