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The importance of safe patient handling sling


The importance of safe patient handling and sling

Rates of musculoskeletual injuries from overexertion in healthcare occupations are among the

highest of all U.S industies. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that in 2014, the

rate of overexertion injuries across all industies was 33 per 10,000 full time workers. By comparison,

the overparison, the overexertion injury rate for hospital workers was twice the average(68 per 10,000),

the rate for nursing home workers was over five times the average(174 per 10,000). The single greatest

risk factor for overexertion injuries in healthcare workers is the manual lifting. Moving and repositioning

of patients, residents or clients, i.e., manual patient handling.

Studies have proven that injury to health care providers can be significantly reduced through safe patient

and resident handling programs. 4,5,6 One focus in these safe patient handling programs in reducing

the physical stress of health care workers by utilizing mechanical equipment to lift and reposition 


Slings require an inspection before each use and should not be used if there is visible compromise 

including loose stitching, holes or tears in the fabric. Laundering by manufacturer specific guidelines is important 

to maintain the strength and integrity of the fabric and prevent failure under load. Some manufacturers make

slings that are single patient use eliminating the need for laundering, and are to be discarded when compromised,

soiled, or upon patient discharge.

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