In a hospital work-day, nurses typically each lift a total of 1.8 tons, equivalent to a small car. This heavy lifting to move patients can cause injuries to the nurses, clinical staff and patients. We look into a solution that rolls out Tuesday at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.
Every day, nurses like Tracy Ellender move patients from one spot to another. "It can be getting that patient up out of bed, into a chair or even into the bathroom," she said.
That transport has traditionally involved gate belts and the help of another clinical staff member, meaning those folks were bearing the weight of every patient they moved. "We lift a total of about 3,600 pounds on an average daily basis," said Ellender.
To help create a safer hospital environment, along with cutting down on back injuries to the staff, the LIFT SMART (Living Injury Free Together while practicing Safe Moving And Repositioning Techniques) system has been added to lighten the load.
The "Maxi Move" unit is a motorized sling transporter than can be especially helpful for bed-ridden patients. "The sling is required to place the patient in before we actually bring him onto the Maxi Move," explained Ellender.
The patient lift equipment can be adjusted depending on the patient size from extra small to extra large with a color-coded sling simplifying that process. "Then after we get the sling positioned under the patient, then we will bring the Maxi Move closer to him," said Ellender.
The Maxi Move is attached to the sling and the up, down, side to side moves are all at the nurse's fingertips. "We can actually detach the sling from the Maxi Move," said Ellender, "and then easily reattach it when it's time to move the patient again."
This easier and safer transport can speed up a patient's recovery, increase respiratory function and muscle tone and protect the joints of the clinical staff. "It's very safe not only for the patient, but for the clinical staff," said Ellender.
There are a few variations of the new lift equipment at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, depending on the needs and size of the patient. You will see the Maxi Move units in the ER, ICU, therapy areas and patient floors.