13-1 Factors affecting nursing staff compliance with the use of mechanized lifts

Factors affecting nursing staff compliance with the use of mechanized lifts: Paving the way towards a “No manual lifting” policy
Deborah Alperovitch-Najenson PT, PhD; Rajel Furas P.T., MA; Leonid Kalichman P.T., PhD


Background: The rate of work related musculoskeletal disorders in nursing staff is among the highest of all reported professions. Research indicates that the use of mechanized lifts for handling patients can lower staff injury rates. However, mechanized lifts are not routinely utilized, even when available. To our knowledge, factors affecting nursing staff compliance with patient lift usage have not yet been examined.

Aims: 1. Identify factors affecting nursing com-pliance with patient lift use within a hospital setting. 2. Explore whether an intervention consisting of lectures and frequent reminders to use lifts can improve nursing staff compliance with lift use to augment patient mobility.

Methods: This was a qualitative and quantitative interventional study. Nursing staff were inter-viewed before and after the intervention and asked about their habits regarding lift use and the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms. Sixty four participants from two internal medicine and one geriatric rehabilitation wards were interviewed before the intervention, and 63 were interviewed after the intervention from the same wards and one additional ward. The intervention consisted of a theoretical lecture on the advantages of lift use, technical guidance on the use of mechanized lifts and a biweekly follow-up lasting for two months.

Results: Significant association was found between participation in the training program and the use of patient lifts. There was a significant reduction in low back pain intensity among the nursing staff after the intervention. Factors hindering the use of lifts were staff concerns about possible mechanical malfunctions, the lack of lift slings, a perception of lack of time (use of lift takes longer) and lack of support from superiors.

Conclusions: 1. Nursing staff lack awareness and express concerns prior to using a patient lift. 2. The presence of lifts does not guarantee their utilization. 3. Explanation of the benefits of using mechanized lifts, instruction in lift usage and monitoring the use of lifts by nursing staff may contribute to increased lift usage. 4. Lifts significantly reduce the intensity of lower back and neck pain in nursing staff. 5. A “No manual lifting policy” needs to be promoted.

Key words: nursing staff, lifts, attitudes, compli-ance, work-related musculoskeletal injuries.




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