Safe Patient Handling and Movement: A Literature Review


  • Janet Mayeda-Letourneau PT, MHA

    Corresponding author
    1. Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, CA, USA
    2. University of La Verne, College of Business and Public Management, La Verne, CA, USA
    • Correpondence

      Janet Mayeda-Letourneau, PT, MHA, Candidate, Director of Rehabilitation Services, Huntington Memorial Hospital, 100 W. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105, USA.


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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) as a result of patient handling tasks occur at high rates for nursing staff and other patient care providers. Patient care providers perform high-risk patient handling tasks including lifting, transferring, ambulating, and repositioning patients. Continuous performance of these tasks places a patient care provider at risk for development of a MSD. MSDs affect a healthcare organization financially and impact the core of a hospital—the health of the workforce. The purpose of this research was to study the impact of a safe patient handling and movement program on healthcare worker injury, costs and job satisfaction.


A critical review of the safe patient handling literature was conducted.


A safe patient handling and movement (SPHM) program decreases overall work injury costs and improves healthcare worker job satisfaction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Reduced work injuries, decreased injury costs, improved patient outcomes validated in research and employees feeling the support of their employer all contribute to a program that moves an organization toward a culture of safety.