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Safe Patient Handling & Mobility: Advancing Dignified Care & Workforce Safety in Healthcare




Patient handling injuries among nurses and other healthcare workers continue to be a major problem. As Dr. Guy Fragala, expert in Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) shared in a recent insightful interview, "there are so many nurses that I’ve seen suffer disabling back injuries .. and when I say disabling, that disability is with them for life." These life-altering injuries impact caregivers' lives on a grand scale, while also contributing to critical frontline staff shortages.


Here are some key highlights and takeaways from our interview with Dr. Guy Fragala:


As our aging population grows, demands on caregivers will continue rising. Simultaneously, we face alarming nursing shortages. As Fragala emphasized, "we have to take better care of our caregivers." Enabling frontline staff to work safely and presentably is imperative both for caregivers, and for the overall healthcare system's capacity to care for our community.

A startling revelation from Fragala, is that "in healthcare, we feel we’ve got to be hands-on with the patient .. the loads involved in lifting a person is unacceptable." The expectation for manual patient handling exceeds reasonable limits. Compared to most other industries, routinely requiring staff to lift well over 35 pounds manually is unacceptable and unsafe. Yet this remains the daily reality for countless frontline staff worldwide.


New Tools And Technology Are Essential


A part of the solution lies in providing better tools and technology to make patient handling and mobility tasks safer. Innovations like the ALTA Platform®, shows immense promise for protecting staff during lateral patient transfers, while improving patient comfort and dignity. As Fragala explained, the ALTA Platform "fits into what staff expects to see in a healthcare environment. We need to evolve the technology of safe patient handling and I see the ALTA as part of that evolution." One of the most remarkable aspects of Able Innovations’ ALTA Platform, is that it gives frontline staff the ability to provide compassionate care without compromising efficiency. Further, it encompasses a highly intuitive design model, allowing caregivers to do-more-with-less. 


Prevent Injuries Before They Happen


When done safely, not only are workers protected, but patients benefit too. Secure patient handling technology helps ensure patient comfort, dignity and safety during transfers. As Fragala noted, “people don’t have handles” - so traditional manual techniques involve uncomfortable grasping that lacks dignity.


As an expert in ergonomics, he further stresses the importance of clinical leaders investing in proactive solutions before injuries occur. While money flows readily to treat injuries after the fact, resources for prevention often take a back seat. Implementing safe patient programs and techniques also show caregivers they are valued and keeps them healthy on the job.


At its essence, SPHM means moving patients in ways that minimize risk for both healthcare staff and the patients in their care. We must continue innovating and implementing technologies that prevent injuries to our invaluable healthcare staff from the start. Safe patient handling protects our communities' capacity for quality care both today and long into the future.


See full interview here with Dr. Guy Fragala.


Connect with Dr. Guy Fragala.



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