At OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois, lift injuries have decreased substantially and staff satisfaction has soared after the creation of a new lift team department that provides patient transfer and mobility assistance. This program can be easily adapted to the long-term care environment after a careful review of its needs.
Our new department was proposed as an effort to curtail increasing lift injuries and growing workers’ compensation costs. With the high turnover rate of nurses, (12% of nurses leave the profession every year because they cannot physically do the job any longer), a facility has to show it cares in order to retain quality staff members, and this department is a step in the right direction. In the past two years, our hospital has seen a 30% reduction in staff injuries associated with patient handling activities, recording 67 fewer injuries, 134 fewer lost work days, and has slashed more than 1,217 restricted work days.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports low back pain is the most common work-related medical problem in the United States and the second most common reason for doctor visits. Low back pain affects 20 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability among people ages 19 to 45.
Our program is so successful that we are reinvesting our $400,000 in savings back into our safe patient handling program and lift team department.