Safe Patient Handling and Movement: A Literature Review

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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) as a result of patient handling tasks occur at high rates for nursing staff and other patient care providers. Patient care providers perform high-risk patient handling tasks including lifting, transferring, ambulating, and repositioning patients. Continuous performance of these tasks places a patient care provider at risk for development of a MSD. MSDs affect a healthcare organization financially and impact the core of a hospital—the health of the workforce. The purpose of this research was to study the impact of a safe patient handling and movement program on healthcare worker injury, costs and job satisfaction.


A critical review of the safe patient handling literature was conducted.


A safe patient handling and movement (SPHM) program decreases overall work injury costs and improves healthcare worker job satisfaction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance:

Reduced work injuries, decreased injury costs, improved patient outcomes validated in research and employees feeling the support of their employer all contribute to a program that moves an organization toward a culture of safety.

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