Lifting and moving patients exposes your back to potential injury every day. You can minimize your risk of injury by practicing good back care techniques. Take a minute now to assess your knowledge and practices so that you can take steps to reduce your risk of injury.
- Are you involved in a regular conditioning exercise program, such as walking, swimming or bicycling?
- Do you take posture breaks and stretch your muscles during work?
- Do you stretch your muscles before work and/or perform back stretching/strengthening exercises to protect your back?
- Do you know what to do if you have an injury or have discomfort while working?
Lifting and Moving Patients
- Do you ask for help when you need it?
- Do you plan the steps in your head (how many people you need, placement of people and bed, chair, stretcher, etc.) before the move
- Do you know how and when to use assistive devices?
- Do you know how best to move patients with special needs (i.e., paralyzed, with tubes, casts or traction)?
- Do you know about Health System resources for information on proper transfer techniques?
Back Anatomy and Body Mechanics
- Do you hold patients close to your body as you move them?
- Do you use your body weight - not your back - to move patients?
- Do you maintain good posture at all times - not just when lifting and moving a patient?
If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, consider yourself a wise and careful caregiver.
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, ask the U-M Occupational Health Services nurse to assist you in developing a plan to help improve your back care practices.