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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 40-45

Safe patient handling: How many people do you need to safely lateral transfer patients?

1 Employee Health and Safety, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
2 Inpatient Therapy, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Correspondence Address:
Austin J Smith
UnityPoint Health–Des Moines, 1200 Pleasant Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JQSH.JQSH_22_18

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Background: Although friction-reducing devices reduce the amount of force to complete a lateral transfer, the total force is significantly higher than the recommended pushing and pulling limits. Caregivers complete lateral transfers without knowing the amount of force required to laterally transfer patients, which subjects them to injury. Methods: This study was designed to identify the force to laterally transfer patients of any weight, in conditions similar to those found within the hospital of this study. There were 16 participants in this study. The participants were moved from a hospital bed to a hospital cart using two force gauges pulling two gait belts secured around the participant. Each participant was moved three times, resulting in 48 data points. A regression analysis was used to evaluate trends between two variables. A general linear model was applied and the coefficient of determination was calculated to show the percent fit to the trend line. Results: This study found a strong correlation between force of lateral transfer and the weight of the patient. Using this correlation, this study was able to predict the total force of a lateral transfer for any patient weight. The results from this study allowed for the creation of a guide to determine how many caregivers are required during a lateral transfer to maintain a safe amount of force per caregiver. Conclusion: Caregivers need to be given information regarding the forces required to complete physical movements so they can protect themselves from overexertion and injury. This study provides a guideline for caregivers to know how many people are needed to safely complete a lateral transfer.

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