Peer coaching and mentoring: A new model of educational intervention for safe patient handling in health care

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BackgroundTo reduce the risk of patient handling-related musculoskeletal injury, overhead ceiling lifts have been installed in health care facilities. To increase ceiling lift usage for a variety of patient handling tasks, a peer coaching and mentoring program was implemented among the direct care staff in the long-term care subsector in British Columbia, Canada. They received a 4-day training program on body mechanics, ergonomics, patient-handling techniques, ceiling lift usage, in addition to coaching skills.MethodsA questionnaire was administered among staff before and after the intervention to evaluate the program's effectiveness.ResultsThere were 403 and 200 respondents to the pre-intervention and post-intervention questionnaires. In general, staff perceived the peer-coaching program to be effective. The number of staff who reported to be using ceiling lifts “often and always” went higher from 64.5% to 80.5% (<0.001) after coaching program implementation. Furthermore, staff reported that they were using the ceiling lifts for more types of tasks post-intervention. Staff reported that the peer coaching program has increased their safety awareness at work and confidence in using the ceiling lifts.ConclusionsThe findings suggest that this educational model can increase the uptake of mechanical interventions for occupational health and safety initiatives. It appears that the training led to a greater awareness of the availability of or increased perceptions of the number of ceiling lifts, presumably through coaches advocating their use. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:609-617, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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