Shawnee Mission Health Launches Safe Patient Lifting Initiative

A woman walks with her nurse for treatment during an appointment.
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The average nurse lifts 1.8 tons per day according to the American Nursing Association. With this in mind, Shawnee Mission Health (SMH) is the latest hospital within Adventist Health System to launch a new initiative to reduce associate and patient injuries caused by manual lifting. All SMH clinical staff now have access to five different types of mechanical lifting equipment provided by Diligent. Each is designed to provide patients with extra security and comfort while simultaneously reducing strain on clinicians muscles as they move patients with various conditions and levels of mobility.

"The decision to eliminate manual patient lifting is an example of our commitment to stay on the front edge of both patient and employee safety," said SMH's Chief Nursing Officer Sheri Hawkins. "By providing these tools, we hope to make the daily process of moving patients safer, easier and more comfortable for everyone involved."

Information from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveals that patient handling results in more workplace injuries per year than construction work, mining, and other physically-taxing careers. Studies by Diligent show that using mechanical lifting equipment can reduce these incidents by up to 70 percent.

"This is an exciting transition for all of us because it is another instance where we are implementing new technology to make our hospital the best it can be," said Hawkins.

SMH staff have undergone approximately 3,500 hours of training on how to use the new equipment since late 2016.

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