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Lifting patients is a significant source of injury

If you work in the medical field, your primary concern may be for your patients instead of yourself. While that sentiment has its place, you also need to consider your own safety and potential for injury.

Back injuries make up a substantial portion of injuries in many industries, including the medical field. One big source of such an injury is transferring and lifting patients. Doing so correctly is vital to keeping both you and the patient from suffering injuries.

The basics

Did you know that more than 50% of the injuries suffered in the medical industry result from transferring and lifting patients? One of the most important steps to remember is to ask for help when you need it. Other than that, keep the following tips in mind for safe lifts and transfers:

  • Don't try to power through and take on more than you can handle.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and breathe.
  • Let your patient help you with the transfer or lift as much as he or she is capable.
  • Don't let the patient grab you or put his or her arms around your neck.
  • Do let the patient grasp your hands and keep them close to his or her chest.
  • Keep the patient's speed and level of movement in mind.
  • Periodically check to make sure you and the patient do not experience any pain during the lift or transfer.
  • Use your legs to lift instead of your back.
  • Avoid sudden movements or jerking.
  • Anchor yourself by keeping one foot slightly ahead of the other and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Avoid pulling on the patient's shoulders or arms.
  • Make sure the patient wears slippers or shoes with good tread to avoid slipping.

Keeping these tips in mind could save you and the patient from suffering unnecessary injuries as you work. Of course, even when you do everything right, accidents still happen.

If you do suffer a back injury due to lifting or transferring a patient, you do not have to suffer in silence. The longer you ignore such an injury, the worse it will get. Report the injury to your superiors and seek medical attention. You may pursue workers' compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and recoup a portion of your income while you recover. Seeking these benefits can be an arduous and frustrating process. Since you don't need this kind of stress while you focus on your recovery, you could consult with a Georgia workers' compensation attorney for assistance.

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