HTI AirWaves Issue 2
Thank you for your interest in HoverTech’s Customer Newsletter, HTI AirWaves, an email publication featuring Safe Patient Handling articles, news, and updates! Our goal is to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry content. This issue has a special focus on Radiology, including a feature article on performing a departmental risk assessment. You will also find the second installment of the 4-part series "10 Steps for an Effective SPHM Program." We hope you enjoy this newsletter and welcome your feedback.
With warm regards,
The HTI AirWaves Team
5 Questions for a Radiology Technologist
We've asked Jacquele Danner, RT (R)(CT), at St. Luke's University Health Network 5 questions about her career in radiology and what it’s like using the HoverMatt® Air Transfer System.
1. HTI: How long have you been working for St. Lukes University Health Network, and what positions have you held?
Danner: “I’ve been at St. Lukes since 2011. I started out as a student before getting hired as an X-ray Technologist. Now, I’m a CT Scan Technologist.”
2. HTI: How familiar are you with the HoverMatt®?
Danner: “Very familiar, since I’ve been using it for a while. It’s air assisted, and it’s easy to place underneath the patient before inflating. It takes very little time to assemble.”
3. HTI: Now that you’re used to using it, what’s it like not using the HoverMatt during a shift?
Danner: “It makes the job ten times harder, especially because I spend most of my time at the campus where most of our bariatric patients are being treated. Sometimes, it takes 5 to 7 people to move a patient.”
4. HTI: If applicable, how does the HoverMatt reduce any pain you may experience otherwise?
Danner: “Since more than half of the patients need to be transferred from a bed or stretcher to my scan table, my back is usually sore the day after a shift without the HoverMatt.”
5. HTI: If you had to tell other technologists about the HoverMatt, what would you say?
Danner: “It makes even the heaviest patients feel significantly lighter, making it safer for both radiology workers and the patient at hand!”
SAFE PATIENT HANDLING "HOW-TO"
HTI Airwaves Series: 10 Steps for an Effective SPHM Program
Part 2 of 4
A successful Safe Patient Handling & Movement (SPHM) program needs to include key elements to ensure program quality and sustainability. HTI Airwaves is presenting a 4-part series to explain these ten steps. In the last newsletter, Elements 1 and 2 were discussed. Now, we will present steps 3, 4 and 5.
1. Mission and goals
Element 3: Multidisciplinary Team
“Frontline care providers know the true nature of risk embedded in their workplace.”
Fragala, G. and Bailey, L.P., AAOHN Journal, 51(6) 2003.
SPHM is not just a nursing issue. To ensure success, any department that lifts or transfers patients, as well as any appropriate supporting disciplines, needs to be part of the planning and implementation of your program. The team should include in-patient, ambulatory, emergency and operating room departments. Department examples include, but are not limited to: occupational health, physical therapy, radiology transportation and risk management. Membership should include front-line staff (labor) and managers with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to implement, monitor and promote the program.
The team chair(s) must be competent in the areas needed for a successful SPHM program, and have a direct reporting line to a senior leader. The recently announced OSHA National Emphasis Program (NEP) for healthcare will be evaluating the credentials and experience of your team leader(s). This further reinforces the need for the chairperson to be your SPHM expert.
As a final point, if you are covered by state SPHM legislation, note that the membership of your SPHM committee must fulfill your state’s requirements.
Element 4: Assessment Process
An ergonomic risk assessment provides a 360-degree view of your current patient handling program. When assessments are not done, or are incomplete, organizations make costly mistakes involving items such as education time and equipment purchases that do not truly address the root causes of their SPHM challenges. Assessment results also provide baseline data for periodic program audits.
OSHA and many state regulations require a SPHM risk assessment. It is recommended that assessments are performed by experienced, credentialed individuals.
A complete analysis includes summaries of: SPHM injuries, workers’ compensation costs, patient handling tasks (type and frequency) in all areas of your institution, and environmental and equipment issues. Photos are a great way to supplement information, especially in conveying challenging environmental or equipment conditions.
Element 5: Written Policy and Protocols
“Having a written policy facilitates complete implementation and sustained success.”
U.S. DOL-OSHA; Worker Safety in Hospitals, Web-page; 2014
Chances are, you've said something like this before: “If I don't write it down, I'll forget.” This same idea applies to workplaces striving to achieve specific goals. To reach your targets and maintain the practices you have implemented, procedures and responsibilities must be clearly documented.
For SPHM success, two kinds of policies are required. First, you'll need a policy that details your specific SPHM objectives and the responsibilities of management and staff for your entire organization. Accountability is a critical element of this policy. Secondly, you'll need unit-specific protocols that specifically direct staff on how to safely move and transfer patients. Unit staff, under the guidance of your SPHM team, should develop these protocols for all the different patient handling tasks they perform.
Next Newsletter: Elements 6, 7 and 8 will be presented: Education and training, Equipment tracking and maintenance, Program audit impact/review.
Radiology Department: High Volume, High Risk
A typical Diagnostic Imaging department receives and moves a high volume of patients every day. An unfortunate result of the manual handling of these patients is the rising rate of musculoskeletal injuries suffered by radiology personnel. Before making investments in safe patient handling policies, equipment and/or education, a risk assessment should be conducted. This will identify gaps and problems so the right solutions can be sourced and implemented. This is critical in radiology, since each specialty has different diagnostic equipment, patient positioning requirements, room layouts and safety restrictions. Below are two recommendations to get you started.
First: Evaluate the environment and inventory equipment
Document the layout in each area, including the width of patient pathways and doors. Safety may be compromised if spaces and pathways are too small or cluttered. A floor lift may prove impossible to use if it cannot be turned and moved easily to the exam table or chair. A caregiver or family member may be unable to walk alongside a patient if the pathway is too narrow.
Next, inventory the current safe patient handling equipment and storage locations. Include the weight capacity and range of movement for each item. For example, can a mechanical sling-lift lower to the floor if it is necessary to lift a patient who has fallen? The results of your inventory will enable you to see what is readily available and accessible for staff. If a device is complicated to operate or difficult to move, staff compliance will decrease. If a lift is “buried” in a storage room or located in a remote location to be shared between departments, employees will not take the time to retrieve it. Devices needed for emergencies should also be included in your assessment, including equipment to lift all patients (including bariatric patients) from the floor.
Second: Record and analyze patient movement in each radiology specialty
Your goal is to understand patient transfers and positioning requirements in each area. You will need management and staff to collect data for a week or two, depending on your patient volume. Explain the purpose and process of the assessment to assure buy-in. If the checklist can be made available in electronic format, it will greatly reduce the work needed to record and analyze the data. The more user-friendly, the more consistent staff compliance will be!
Suggested information to collect:
The results of the assessment should help you to identify gaps in processes, equipment, the environment and communications. For example, you should be able to determine if every area has the right equipment for each type of patient movement needed, in sufficient quantity, and in a convenient location. With this information, you will be able to take the next step in establishing a safe patient handling plan for the department.
SAFE PATIENT HANDELING QUIZ
Test your knowledge! Read Radiology: High Volume, High Risk, then take this newsletter's SPH Quiz.
True or False:
1. False 2. False 3. True 4. True