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    I have been looking at the information in regards to lift teams, and there seems to be many pros and cons. However this information in not rescent, and I was wondering if ther is any up to date information.

    We are a small 75 bed hospital with 8 ICU and 20 step down beds. The hospital also has the general and surgical areas.

    We have been experiencing injuries, and the nurses now feel that the lifting should be done by the Therapists

    Can I please have feedback as to suggestions.



    The pros and cons of lift teams remain unchanged. Professionally, I cannot recommend only changing the "who" performing the patient lift. A lift that is hazardous for a nurse is just as hazardous for anyone else. Training in proper body mechanics is not sufficient to make patient handling safe. Unless the equipment used for lifting and handling patients is changed, the lifting hazard is not mitigated, it has only been shifted. Safe patient handling begins with an investment in safer equipment (engineering controls). Once the technology is addressed, then modifications in the "who" component of the task are more valuable.

    Thanks for asking,

    Rick Barker, Sr. Ergonomics Consultant

    Humantech, Inc.


    [private user]

    Thank you Rick Barker!! Well said. I have been swimming upstream against the same cultural viewpoint: Nurses thinking that therapy should be doing all of the difficult transfer tasks because "we’re too busy and using equipment takes up too much time" and "this is the way it has always been done". Encouraging the use of (the proper) equipment demands a paradigm shift in many ways to various staff who handle patients. I have heard stories from nurses that not long ago there was great pushback to notion of donning and wearing gloves while treating patients, but now is second nature. Would that we as healthcare workers could all get to that level of thinking with ergonomics and safe patient handling!



    We have recently published two studies that evaluated an ergonomics program to prevent patient handling injuries in our health region looking at three sizes and types of facilities.  The intervention which was a combination of patient handling equipment upgrades, and a TLR program (training and administrative controls):

    Black, Timothy R. , Shah, Syed M. , Busch, Angela J. , Metcalfe, Judy and Lim, Hyun J.(2011) ‘Effect of

    Transfer, Lifting, and Repositioning (TLR) Injury Prevention Program on Musculoskeletal Injury Among Direct Care

    Workers’, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 8: 4, 226 — 235, First published on: 11 March 2011 (iFirst)

    To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/15459624.2011.564110

    URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2011.564110



    These might be helpful in justifying a formal TLR program for your facility.

    I can’t imagine that the therapists have the time, or the endurance, to do all the heavy patient handling, the risks of which can be reduced or eliminated with proper equipment and training.

    I hope this is helpful. Good luck.

    Tim Black PT, MSC




    It's good to get back to this forum…..manual handling of patients yields one thing…."risk" and significant risk associated with the unpredictable nature of human beings and the awkward and forceful nature of the task.  I am responsible for providing information/education about the products that assist in managing the process of safe and effective patient handling for Shoppers Home Health Care Lift Division for Eastern Ontario.  This essentially means I spend my time in hospitals, long term care facilities and the community advocating for better practices through the use of effective product.

    Major point here…let the mechanical lifts do the work.  Equip hospitals and Long Term Care facilities with the equipment that offloads the burden and risks associated with manually lifting/transferring patients that have mobility concerns.  

    Kind Regards,

    John Bragdon, BSc. Kin, CK(OKA)

    Eastern Ontario Product Specialist-SHHC Lift Division


    John Bragdon, BSc. Kin, CK(OKA)

    Director of Kinesiology/Occupational Services

    Movewell Rehabilitation

    [email protected]



    I work at a small acute care hospital the has installed ceiling lifts in several rooms for mechanical lifting of heavy or dependent patients. With the mechanical lifts we still need 2 people to safely operate the lift, but we eliminate the actual heavy physical lifting. The nurses call "lift team" when they need the second person to assist.

    The therapists still do sit to stand training, transfer training and stand balance training without the mechanical lift, and have never been on call to do routine transfers for nursing. Why the hospital administration would think heavy lifting should be done by one profession or another when there are wonderful equipment options to prevent staff injury and safely move patients seems short-sighted and medieval.

    Please look into the benefits and cost effectiveness of a ceiling lift mechanism.

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