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  • APTA Joins Initiative to Develop National Safe Patient Handling Standards

    Earlier this summer, APTA served on an expert panel as part of the American Nurses Association's (ANA) broad-based effort to develop national standards to guide hospitals and other health care facilities in their implementation of policies and equipment to safely lift and move patients.

    Ken Harwood, PT, PhD, CIE, represented APTA on the panel that included 26 specialists with expertise in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, ergonomics, architecture, health care systems, and other disciplines to create overarching standards for implementing safe patient handling programs and detailed guidelines for making them work effectively in practice. The Safe Patient Handling National Standards Working Group plans to distribute the standards and guidelines to their professional memberships for comment in October, with publication and release set for March 2013.

    The panel is seeking to build a consensus of evidence-based best practices in safe patient handling that will apply to multiple health care professions and settings. The panel's goal is to develop language that can be incorporated nationwide into practices, policies, procedures, and regulations and become the basis for resource toolkits and certifications.

    Currently, there are no broadly recognized government or private industry national standards for safe patient handling. Health care facility programs lack consistency, as do regulations in 10 states that have enacted safe patient handling laws. In the meantime, health care professionals continue getting injured, and musculoskeletal injury remains a top concern, says ANA.


    • I am A Physical therapist Assistant practicing for the past 18 yrs. I applaud the APTA for there efforts in the area of SPH&M. I have been very interested and studying and trying concepts to incorporate along with Algorithms into practice,for the Past 8years and it is nice to see we are making some headway. Is there a representative in the State of PA who I can contact to see if I could be any assistance with this area Thanks Joe Shay PTA

      Posted by Joseph E Shay on 8/29/2012 9:26 PM

    • We are currently in the early process of implementing some new color coded mobility and safe patient handling protocols that will be part of the nursing assessments on each shift. There is a genuine enthusiasm and consensus support among the rehab and nursing staffs alike on the need for uniform approach to mobility and safe patient handling. Better outcomes, optimal lengths of stay, less employee injuries, less risk to the patient and more frequent and purposeful mobility are just a few of the benefits of Safe Patient Handling.

      Posted by Anthony Salafia on 8/31/2012 3:50 PM

    • Better late than never! Other countries (e.g. UK, with its NHS) have developed & been implementing these for many years, now.

      Posted by Charles Costello on 8/31/2012 3:56 PM

    • I have been involved in safe patenit movement for over 15 years. Motivating businesses to implement a SPM program starting with the purchase of lifts and recognizing employee hazards when trasferring. One of the initial hazards to implementation was the therapeutic methods from the therapist and the "need to get her done" methods of the care givers. Care givers have a different set of skills and needs to move a patient /resident.

      Posted by Beth Stowell on 9/10/2012 8:56 AM

    • Have there been any studies published on this?

      Posted by Kate Jamis on 6/26/2015 5:40 PM

    • I would like to know if there is anything I can do I was injured at work lifting a patient in an Olaf facility where we have several patients who have to be lifted I requested to buy gait belt and a back brace for myself boss refuse to allow me to buy that said we were not allowed to have that in our facility because we were in no lift facility no employees have been through training to lift any residents of the facility and we also do not have any lift equipment such as a Hoyer lift. I was injured May 1st of 2018 I seen several doctors surgeons and done physical therapy. When told I could be released to go back to work on a no lift restriction the owner refused to allow me to come back to work because he said he had no position available for me that required no lift

      Posted by Renee on 1/25/2019 2:27 PM

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