Identification of physically demanding patient-handling tasks in an acute care hospital

Myrna C. Callison, Maury A. Nussbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are prevalent among nurses and other healthcare workers worldwide, and patient-handling tasks are a common precipitating event. Existing research has focused on patient-handling within long-term care facilities and has identified physically demanding patient-handling tasks within this context. It is not known, however, whether nurses in acute care facilities have similar exposures. Using on-site work sampling procedures and a subsequent survey, the primary aim of the present study was to identify, describe, and rank the physically demanding patient-handling tasks performed by nursing staff in an acute care facility. The 10 most physically demanding patient-handling tasks were identified and contrasted with earlier results. Compared to long-term care facilities, in which the majority of tasks have been shown to be associated with performance of activities of daily living, the most frequently observed tasks in the acute care facility were repositioning tasks. Differences in the types of transfers being performed across types of healthcare facilities, as well as across units within acute care facilities, highlight the importance of determining the patient-handling demands and needs that are unique to each type of healthcare facility. Generalizing across facilities or units may lead to incorrect assumptions and conclusions about physical demands being placed on nurses. Relevance to industry: Knowledge of the most physically demanding tasks can facilitate future intervention efforts to control exposures and injury risks. Differences in physically demanding tasks likely exist between types of healthcare facilities and suggest distinct approaches are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Moving and Lifting Patients
Delivery of Health Care
Nurses
Long-Term Care
nurse
Nursing Staff
Activities of Daily Living
Exposure controls
Industry
nursing staff
Nursing
Wounds and Injuries
Research
Sampling

Keywords

  • Nursing
  • Patient-handling
  • Physical demands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Identification of physically demanding patient-handling tasks in an acute care hospital. / Callison, Myrna C.; Nussbaum, Maury A.

In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Vol. 42, No. 3, 05.2012, p. 261-267.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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