Barriers to the Use of Assistive Devices in Patient Handling

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Abstract

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are a major safety concern in today’s health care environment due to the manual lifting of patients with higher acuity levels and obesity. Nurses move patients multiple times each day, incurring cumulative stress and trauma resulting in chronic pain and potential injury. The purpose of this study was to assess barriers to the use of assistive devices in safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) that contribute to WMSD in health care workers. Interpersonal, situational, organizational, and environmental influences have both direct and indirect effects on workers’ commitment to use, or their actual likelihood of using, assistive devices. This study confirmed that time constraints contribute to fewer instances of assistive device use. Comprehensive ergonomic programs are needed to promote staff and patient safety. By providing safe environments for health care workers who engage in patient handling and mobility, the risk of injury can be significantly reduced.

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