When used correctly, patient lifts can help move patients from one place to another, be it a bed to a bath or from a chair to a stretcher. They are designed to aid nurses and nurse assistants, particularly when dealing with patients who are immobile. They also help nurses avoid injuring themselves while moving patients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession ranked in the top five for musculoskeletal disorders.
While there are a lot of myths surrounding patient lifts, when used properly, they present an effective and efficient solution for moving patients. Below are some best practices to remember when using a patient lift.
Know Your Equipment
Prior to using a patient lift, you should first know exactly what kind of lift it is and all of the operating procedures. There are two main types of patient lifts:
- Powerized: motorized operation using a rechargeable battery
- Manual: hydraulic operation
Knowing what type of lift you are using will allow you to better understand the intricate details associated with operating the equipment. Even if you have extensive experience using patient lifts, you should always take the time to know exactly what type of lift you are using.
Inspect The Lift
Before using a patient lift, make sure to inspect it for any potential damages or malfunctions. It is especially important to inspect the sling.
Some things to look for are:
- Stress at the seams
If you notice any damage to the sling, don’t use the lift, as this can result in an injury to the patient or yourself.
Check The Patient
Checking the patient lift is an important step, but so is checking the actual patient. When putting a patient in a lift, you want to make sure they are not agitated or restless, as this can increase the chance of injury during the transport. Once the patient is in the lift, you want to make sure they keep their arms inside the sling straps as well.
Follow Maintenance Instructions
In order to feel confident using a patient lift, it is necessary to follow all maintenance instructions between uses. This includes both cleaning and service.
Patient lifts are designed to help nurses and nurse assistants transport patients. Despite the myths that surround them, patient lifts should be viewed as a beneficial piece of equipment that can make life easier for medical professionals.