Thursday, January 03, 2013 New in the Literature: Safe Patient Handling Programs (Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013;94(1):17-22.) Safe patient handling (SPH) programs do not appear to inhibit patient recovery, say authors of a retrospective cohort study conducted in a rehabilitation unit in a hospital system. Fears among therapists that the use of equipment may lead to dependence may be unfounded, they add. For this investigation, the authors enrolled consecutive patients (N=1,291) over a 1-year period without an SPH program in place (n=507) and consecutive patients over a 1-year period with an SPH program in place (n=784). The SPH program consisted of administrative policies and patient handling technologies. The policies limited manual patient handling by staff. Equipment included ceiling- and floor-based dependent lifts, sit-to-stand assists, ambulation aides, friction-reducing devices, motorized hospital beds and shower chairs, and multihandled gait belts. The main outcome measure was the mobility subscale of the FIM. Patients who were rehabilitated in the group with SPH achieved similar outcomes to patients rehabilitated in the group without SPH. A significant difference between groups was noted for patients with initial mobility FIM scores of 15.1 and higher after controlling for initial mobility FIM score, age, length of stay, and diagnosis. Those patients performed better with SPH. APTA member Marc Campo, PT, PhD, OCS, is the article's lead author. APTA member Heather Margulis, PT, is coauthor. The article is available in this month's Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.