Allen, R., Jackson, S., Marsden, H., McLellan, D.L. and Gore, S.
Transferring people safely with manual handling equipment
Clinical Rehabilitation, 16, (3), .
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Objective: To determine whether transferring equipment designed to assist a carer when moving someone who is able to take some weight through their legs is likely to affect the risk of back problems in the carer.
Design: Twelve pieces of equipment were tested by nurses transferring patients from commode to wheelchair and vice versa, and from wheelchair to bed and vice versa. Video recordings were taken of each transfer and freeze-frame pictures at the moment of greatest load were analysed. Compressive disc force was deduced, using a biomechanical model, from the weights of the patient and nurse and measurements of anatomical distances and angles.
Setting: The Sir Walter Puckey Gait Laboratory, in the Rehabilitation Research Unit, University of Southampton.
Subjects: Six female trained nurses with no recent history of hernia, back pain or pregnancy during the previous six months were recruited to use the equipment. Two female patients were chosen from those volunteering and screened for stroke, confusion and unusual footwear. The patients were able to partially weight-bear and were used to being transferred.
Results: The results indicate that the critical value of 3.4 kN at the L5/S1 disc (specified by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) was not exceeded when using transferring equipment. Conclusion: In this study, loading on the spine during transferring tasks with or without equipment was not considered harmful when good technique was employed.
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