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15,000 safe patient handling grant for Dorn VAMC nurses.

According to Bell and others [1], healthcare workers who sustained back injuries, have impacted the economy by twenty billion dollars annually. Nurses sustained more lost days because of back relate injuries in his/her occupation, than a truck driver, or construction worker [5]. According to Nelson [2], twelve percent of nurses are force to change his/her vocation due to job related injuries he/she sustained. Data shows nurse aides and practical nurses are ranked as one of the top ten occupations with the highest reports of back strains or sprains [2]. In America, data also shows thirty-seven percent of back pain injuries sustained are job related injuries [3].

In 2008, Veterans Administrative (VA) hospitals devised a program entitled Safe Patient Handling (SPH) program [4] as an effort to address this growing demand. SPH was created as an effort to reduce job-related-injuries associated with manual movements of patients. The goal of SPH is to reduce manual movement of patients by thirty-five pounds throughout the medical facility [4]. Dorn VAMC has been successful in installing mounted ceiling lifts throughout the VA facility through the SPH program.

Dorn VAMC has embarked in another area with the SPH program. Dorn VAMC has been the first facility to be selected to participate in a $15,000 NIOSH study on Best Practices for Bariatric Patient Handling. The NIOSH program will be selecting no more than ten VA facilities for this study. The purpose of this research is to find the safest methods for healthcare workers to use when lifting and moving bariatric patients. Dorn VAMC is excited about being the forefront in establishing a safer way to provide optimal care to our patients and healthcare providers. If you have any questions on the SPH study, you can contact Dorn VAMC SPH Registered Kinesiotherapist Coordinator Diane Riley.


[1.] Bell, J., Collins, J., Galinsky, T. L., & Waters, T. R. (2009, February 1). Preventing back injuries in healthcare settings (legislative advocacy). Nevada RNformation. Retrieved from a-rnformation-p126188/february-2009

[2.] Nelson, A. L. (2006). Safe patient handling and movement: A guide for nurses and other health care providers. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

[3.] Nelson, N. A., & Hughes, R. E. (2009, January 9). Quantifying relationships between selected work-related risk factors and back pain: A systematic review of objective biomechanical measures and cost-related outcomes. Business Source Premier, 39(1), 202-210. doi:10.1016/j.ergon.2008.06.003

[4.] Veteran Administration Employee Educational Service. (Producer). (2008). A word to stakeholders VHA about the safe patient handling program [DVD]. Available from DVD.

[5.] Waters, T. R. (2007, August). When it is safe to manually lift a patient? American Journal, 107(8), 53-58. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000282296.18688. b1

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Title Annotation:Letter
Author:Riley, Diane
Publication:Clinical Kinesiology: Journal of the American Kinesiotherapy Association
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2013
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