Manual Handling in the Health Care Sector

2 February 2017

This assignment seeks to discuss three key themes in relation to Manual handling in the health care sector and will describe the literature which supports this. This topic has been chosen as the handling of patients plays an important role in Health and Social care. NHS, (2010, p. 3) states that ‘Manual handling is a core competency for staff caring for patients’. This assignment will look at the importance of training that is required to ensure competent and safe use of equipment and the moving and handling of patients. Secondly this assignment will go on to describe how poor manual handling can affect Patients.

There are many problems that can arise from incorrect manual handling, therefore this assignment will focus on the risk of pressure ulcers and will also describe what staff can do to help minimise this risk. Finally, this assignment will then look at how poor manual handling can affect staff, particularly concentrating on the risk of back injury and how Healthcare professionals can reduce this risk. There are many types of equipment used to assist patients in moving and it is crucial that staff receive the correct training and that they are aware of the equipment that is available.It is important that staff feel confident and competent when using equipment to ensure the safety of themselves and the Patient. If the incorrect manual handling techniques are performed this could lead to injury to the patient and carer and could result in patient discomfort and development of pressure ulcers, as well as back problems for the carer. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, (NICE, 2003) states that training in pressure ulcer prevention should be given to all health care professionals.Training should involve the correct use of pressure relieving aids, knowledge of positioning to minimise risk and also have a clear understanding of the risks involved (NICE, 2003).

Staff working for the NHS should have available access to a back care advisor (BCA), or a manual handling expert, who should arrange training where necessary (NHS, 2O1O). It is also imperative for staff to be up to date with current regulations so that the carer has a clear understanding of the implications of manual handling (Kozier et al. 2008).The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992) emphasises that manual handling should be avoided wherever possible to do so. It is important that manual handling should be avoided where there is a risk of injury to the Patient or the Carer. If this cannot be avoided then a full ergonomic risk assessment must be completed by the employer (Manual Handling Operations Regulations, 1992). Knowledge of risk assessment is important so that employers are able to assess and reduce risks of manual handling.

In 2007 the HSE carried out a report to find out what constitutes effective manual handling training.The results showed that there was evidence that the most effective form of manual handling was ergonomic interventions (HSE, 2007). Practical fundamentals in training were found to strengthen learning, particularly if adapted to personal needs. It was found, that in order for manual handling training to be effective, training needs to be an ongoing process and reinforced with regular refresher courses (HSE, 2007). However, it was found that principles learnt during training are not always applied in the workplace. Poor manual handling can have a negative impact on a patient both physically and mentally.Chell (2003), states that patients are at high risk of injury from incorrect handling techniques.

The National Back Pain Association (1998) supports this statement by proposing that poor manual handling techniques can lead to patients suffering from shoulder displacement, damaged nerves and tissue injuries. It has been reported that despite these facts, many nurses continue to use poor manual handling techniques. This has been put down to staff shortages, poor supervision and short supply of handling equipment (Kozier et al. 2008).Action needs to be taken to ensure that staff have access to adequate equipment and supervision to ensure patient safety. In a survey carried out by the Nursing times, it was said that two thirds of Nurses believed that shortage of equipment compromises patient safety (Ford, 2010). One problem which may arise from incorrect lifting techniques is the development of pressure ulcers.

Effective moving and handling has a great role to play in the prevention of pressure ulcers and this is why training is so important (Hall, 2001). Inappropriate moving and handling techniques may result in skin damage.Pressure ulcers can be caused by pressure, friction and shear (NICE, 2003). For example, if a patient is dragged rather than lifted when using a slide sheet, this could cause friction and could potentially lead to skin damage. Consequently this could result in the Patient having to stay in hospital longer which could impact on a Patients psychological state. Nursing interventions play an important part in the reduction of pressure ulcers. A nurse can help to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers by promoting activity, carrying out skin inspections and assessments, and by using pressure relieving devices (Lynn, 2005).

Some patients may fear being dropped when moved using equipment (Rogers, 1999), thus it is important for the Nurse to communicate with the patient, this way the Nurse can explain how the equipment works and the patient can express any concerns that they may have. It is important to remember that not all patients like lifting equipment and may feel uncomfortable, anxious and find it undignified (Rogers, 1999). Nurses are subject to wear and tear injuries from manoeuvring patients and the biggest risk and cost to nurses is back injury (Rogers, et al. 999). The Department of Health, 2004 (cited in Kozier 2008, p. 227) estimated that one in four nurses take time off work due to back injury. It is reported that nurses have around 30 percent more days off per year due to back pain than any other profession; this costs the NHS over ? 50 million a year through absence (Rogers, et al.

1999). As well as the cost implications to the NHS, this can lead to low morale as the loss of one member of staff can impact on the work load of others, which can cause stress to remaining staff.As well as pain and discomfort through back injury, back injury can have an impact on the individual’s psychological state and can lead to low self esteem and even depression. Providing manual handling aids and training are very important factors in helping to reduce the risk of back injury. However it is equally important for nurses to use manual handling aids, according to White, 1997 (cited in Rogers, et al. 1999, p. 206) nurses state that they don’t use manual handling equipment due do the patients dislike of equipment.

However in more recent literature it is stated that nurses don’t have access to adequate equipment to use in assisting patients with moving (Ford, 2010). Back injury is a very common occurrence in nursing, but there are many measures that an individual can take to reduce the risk of developing back pain; this can be achieved by maintaining a good level of physical fitness, exercising regularly and having an understanding of body mechanics is important as this can help prevent spinal damage.Psychological factors, such as stress can also influence injury as this can cause muscles to tense up, if a member of staff is feeling stressed it is important for them to talk about their problems, meditation and yoga can also be beneficial and is said to help reduce stress (Mental health foundation, 2010). Staff can also help to reduce long-term risk by attending training sessions and following manual handling policies.If a worker does not feel confident in using equipment, they can contact a BCA within the NHS who can provide appropriate training and information (NHS, 2O1O). To conclude, this assignment has addressed a number of significant issues regarding manual handling. After reviewing the current literature supporting Manual handling it is apparent that back injury is the most common type of illness amongst nursing staff and is associated with a high level of sickness absence, as a result this costs the NHS a staggering 50 million per year.

Training is proven to be beneficial, with research showing that ergonomic intervention is the most beneficial in helping to reduce manual handling injuries, thus it is important that risk assessments are enforced in the work place. It was found that poor training can have a big impact on both patient and carer, with patients being at a much higher risk of developing pressure ulcers and the carer being at a much higher risk of developing back injury. It was also found that a big reason for not using equipment aids was due to there not being an adequate supply.

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