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Myths and Facts About Safe Patient Handling in Rehabilitation

Authors

  • Audrey Nelson PhD RN FAAN,

    Director, Corresponding author
      Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center, 11605 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33612, or audrey.nelson@va.gov.
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    • Audrey Nelson, PhD RN FAAN, is a director at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center.

  • Kenneth J. Harwood PhD PT CIE,

    DirectorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Kenneth J. Harwood, PhD PT CIE, is a director at the American Physical Therapy Association, Alexandria, VA.

  • Catherine A. Tracey MS RN CRRN,

    AdministratorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Catherine A. Tracey, MS RN CRRN, is an administrator of nursing at Havenwood-Heritage Heights, Concord, NH.

  • Kathleen L. Dunn MS RN CRRN-A CNS

    Clinical Nurse SpecialistSearch for more papers by this author
    • Kathleen L. Dunn, MS RN CRRN-A CNS, is a clinical nurse specialist at Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA.


Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center, 11605 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33612, or audrey.nelson@va.gov.

Abstract

As the incidence of injuries associated with patient-handling tasks remains high in the rehabilitation community, interdisciplinary discussions on optimal methods for preventing injuries and ensuring good care continue. A national task force consisting of representatives from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, the American Physical Therapy Association, and the Veterans Health Administration identified myths that have been promulgated on both sides of the discussion, focusing especially on rehabilitation practices. The purpose of this article is to dispel these myths by using evidence-based methods. Evidence should be applied in discussions of safe patient handling, and although concern about patient outcomes is critical, there is no evidence that the use of patient-handling technology undermines rehabilitation goals and strong evidence that these practices enhance the safety of rehabilitation care providers. Further research on the impact of safe patient-handling practices on rehabilitation goals and continued communication between rehabilitation providers are recommended.

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