Reduction in Patient Handling Injuries by Promoting a Culture of Safety and Use of Air‑Assistive Technologies

December 1, 2021

After noticing a dramatic increase in patient handling related injuries to staff, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) facility, Strong Medical Center, decided to investigate the cause. They found that many of their staff members didn’t use the facility’s air-assisted patient handling equipment due to time constraints, and the equipment not being available at their fingertips when they needed it. A survey revealed that only 10% of staff used the equipment, and less than half of staff were comfortable asking for help when using the equipment. With these discoveries (and others) in mind, URMC began putting the pieces together from their investigation to develop an action plan.  

Aiming to decrease musculoskeletal injuries among staff – injuries specifically related to boosting and other patient repositioning tasks – the objective became clear: URMC needed to develop and maintain a Culture of Safety with a Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) program. In other words, they needed to encourage staff to use the air-assisted patient handling equipment. From there, they were left with one big question: What could be done to get staff to use the equipment with the goal to reduce staff injuries?

After determining the root causes of the problem, URMC took action. They removed draw sheets as an option, installed trays for equipment storage, and decided to upgrade their air-assisted devices to reduce the need for patient boosting – just to name a few. In the end, the results were impressive; there were zero staff injuries related to patient handling within the time frame of their study (from Fall, 2019 to June, 2021).

To dive deeper into the study and learn more about how URMC made changes to promote a Culture of Safety, download the poster for FREE below.