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
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.