Link Between Safe Patient Handling and Patient Outcomes in Long-Term Care

Authors

  • Audrey Nelson PhD RN FAAN,

    Director, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Audrey Nelson, PhD RN FAAN, is director of the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center.

  • James Collins PhD MSME,

    Associate DirectorSearch for more papers by this author
    • James Collins, PhD MSME, is the associate director for science at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research, Morgantown, WV.

  • Kris Siddharthan PhD,

    Health Services ResearcherSearch for more papers by this author
    • Kris Siddharthan, PhD, is health services researcher in the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tampa, FL.

  • Mary Matz MSPH,

    Veterans Health AdministrationSearch for more papers by this author
    • Mary Matz, MSPH, is the Veterans Health Administration patient care ergonomics consultant and an industrial hygienist in the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tampa, FL.

  • Tom Waters PhD CPE

    Senior Safety EngineerSearch for more papers by this author
    • Tom Waters, PhD CPE, is senior safety engineer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Cincinnati, OH.


Patient Safety Center, 11605 N. Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33612, or audrey.nelson@va.gov

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between safe patient handling and quality of care measures. A comprehensive patient care ergonomics program included six elements. Using a retrospective observational design, 10 quality domains were compared before and after implementation of the program for 111 residents living on 24 units in six Veterans Administration nursing homes using a general linear regression model with repeated measures clustered within time and adjusted for age. After implementation, we found lower levels of depression, improved urinary continence, higher engagement in activities, lower fall risk, and higher levels of alertness during the day. Additionally, four areas showed a decline in function: pain, combativeness, locomotion, and cognition. Findings from this study may be useful in enhancing organizational support for safe patient-handling programs and could be used to build a business case for improving caregiver safety.

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