Question about Proper Body Mechanics and Communication?

Find out how to discuss and implement an adjustable bed for patients, prevent injuries, and improve overall care and health for patients and staff.

Question about Proper Body Mechanics and Communication?
Proper Body Mechanics to Keep Your Back Safe

I was so happy to find this site. I was fortunate to find several weekend hours caring for a woman in a facility. I am not a healthcare professional, but help her with dressing, hygiene, etc.

Nurses work at the facility. My friend is an “independent resident” they are only there to administer medicine. I’ve been directed by my own boss not to bother the nurses, at all, unless there is an emergency.

She was recently discharged from hospital. She refused the physical therapy the doctors recommended.

This is my problem: The patient complains frequently of pain. The worst is when she is trying to sit up in bed. I have mentioned to my boss that an adjustable bed would be wonderful for her. As far as I know there are no plans for one.

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    The best I can do as far as helping her to sit up is to prop her up with pillows. I’m not thin but the patient weighs about forty pounds more than I do. This is doing a terrible job on my own back. It would be very helpful if someone could tell me on the correct way to help a person sit up without hurting myself.

    I know she was to have a physical therapy evaluation this week. Apparently she is refusing to do the exercises. The client and her husband are very nice people. The hours are great. But I hate to think of the condition of my own back and neck. After another weekend I will have to leave this job unless I learn how to move the patient properly. Thanks so much for any advice!

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    I am an old (seasoned) rehabilitation nurse. Your concerns about your back are legitimate. Proper body mechanics is important for you and your patient.

    There are several approaches you can take to this dilemma. Your boss really has an unrealistic expectation of not utilizing the staff.

    As a nurse that has worked in many facilities as an agency nurse. I know the importance of making the staff your friends/teammates.

    You are the eyes and ears to the facility on the status of the patient. Waiting for an emergency is too late.

    You are being proactive and your boss should embrace your initiative.

    You may want to consider discussing the adjustable bed with your boss . Ask to pass that information onto the case manager or social worker in the facility.

    During a the physical therapy evaluation, the therapist can assess for that type of bed. Medicare may pay for the bed.

    I would also discuss with the patient and her husband how beneficial a bed would be for her. She will be able to change her position and become comfortable by herself.

    The patient and the staff are at risk for injury. (Hey, the last thing your boss wants if a worker’s compensation claim for a back injury).

    Here are other issues that you must be concerned about: pulling her can cause muscle pulls to both of you. Your patient’s skin is prone to breaking down. Pulling on her could cause a skin tear that can develop in to a pressure sore.

    You may want to write a note about a possible bed. Ask the nurse to tape on the front of her chart for the PT to see before the eval.

    You may also request that the therapist provide training to all staff.

    Marie, in your post you said you are not a health care professional. Please understand that you are at the very heart and soul of caregiving.

    One of the saddest things that occurred in nursing… is that the professional nurses no longer get an opportunity to do the hands on care.

    That is the most important time to get to know the patient. You can assess the patient and educate them on their own care and health condition. You now have the responsibility… to pass that information onto the right individuals to prevent a crisis.

    Feel free to post any time Marie. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. Many others are in the same situation as you.

    Diane Carbo RN

    Be proud of what you do. I salute your efforts and your caring.

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