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Changes in Functional Independence Measure Ratings Associated with a Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program


  • Margaret Arnold PT CEES,

    Rehabilitation Services Coordinator and Ergonomics Program Coordinator, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Margaret Arnold, PT CEES, is rehabilitation services coordinator and ergonomics program coordinator at Bay Regional Medical Center, Bay City, MI.

  • Stephanie Radawiec DPT MHS PT,

    Clinical ConsultantSearch for more papers by this author
    • Stephanie Radawiec, DPT MHS PT, is a clinical consultant at Diligent Services, ArjoHuntleigh, a division of the Getinge AB Group, in Addison, IL.

  • Marc Campo PhD PT OCS,

    Assistant ProfessorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Marc Campo, PhD PT OCS, is assistant professor in the Program in Physical Therapy, Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

  • Laurette R. Wright MPH BSN RN COHN-S

    Clinical DirectorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Laurette R. Wright, MPH BSN RN COHN-S, is clinical director for Diligent Services, ArjoHuntleigh, a division of the Getinge AB Group, in Addison, IL.


Safe patient handling and movement (SPHM) programs are effective in reducing healthcare worker injuries. However, the perception among rehabilitation personnel that SPHM equipment promotes patient dependence and adversely affects functional outcomes is one barrier to implementing successful programs. This barrier is particularly evident in acute inpatient rehabilitation facilities, where functional independence is the primary goal. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate this perception. Functional Independence Measure (FIM) ratings were collected from 94 patients with a diagnosis of stroke. Forty-seven patients were admitted 1 year prior to implementation of the SPHM program (Group 1), and 47 were admitted to the facility over a period of 1 year (Group 2) 18 months after program implementation. Group 2 obtained equal or better discharge mobility FIM ratings than Group 1, who received care without the SPHM equipment. This study suggests that SPHM programs do not impede functional outcomes in stroke patients.