By Macy Michel, Pre-Occupational Therapy; Jenna Kreinbrink, Pre-Occupational Therapy; Catherine Woods, Pre-Occupational Therapy
Advisor: Susan Kotowski
Abstract: Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most common and costly injuries in the healthcare sector. Injuries related to patient handling - transferring and repositioning patients, are a major contributor to these musculoskeletal injuries. Ergonomic interventions such as mechanical lifts, slide boards, etc. have been shown to reduce the risk of injuries to healthcare providers, however, there is still a lack of adoption of such interventions due to the perceptions that they are "too time consuming" or "too difficult/stressful" to use. The purpose of this project was to closely examine and document all aspects of patient transfer and repositioning tasks, both with and without technical assistance, done by various healthcare providers at a large regional medical center to allow for comparison between techniques. Patient transfers and repositions were observed and data was captured using the Behavioral Observation Tool (BOT) application, which allowed each aspect of the transfer, including time for gathering materials and equipment, patient preparation, number of people assisting with transfer, type of transfer (e.g. bed to chair, pull-up-in-bed, etc.), documentation, demographics of patient, and experience of the medical professional to be recorded and analyzed for trends in patient transfer methods. It was anticipated that that assistive devices used in patient transfer and repositioning tasks would be beneficial to the provider in decreasing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, but this benefit would come at the expense of being more time consuming than manual transfers without the use of assistive devices.