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Patient handling guidelines revised.

The moving and handling of people can be a serious hazard for health workers. Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) records show over the 12-month period June 2009 to 2010, payments of $126.4 million have been paid out for new and on-going back injuries alone.

Since the ACC published the Patient Handling Guidelines in 2003, much has happened worldwide, as our understanding of manual and patient handling injuries grows: handling equipment has improved and techniques and standards continue to evolve.

ACC initiated a national and international review of the guidelines in 2009, with a new draft out for public consultation during June and July this year. The draft, Moving and Handling People: The New Zealand Guidelines 2011, is available on the ACC website (

The review has been tong awaited by professionals working in the health and disability sectors, although the guidelines target a broader audience. The new guidelines, which take a multi-factorial approach, are suitable for all Levels of the workforce, including management, and include a new section on bariatric clients. The overall message is that health workers should always remember to stop a tuber to stop and assess before taking on any moving or handling task.

The guidelines provide clear principles to evaluate the differing techniques for moving and handling people, and support sharing knowledge to increase sector understanding. The revised guidelines wilt be Launched at the Australian Association for the Manual Handing of People conference in Auckland next March.

In Line with the guidelines' review, work is underway to realign the New Zealand Qualifications Authority unit standards 23452 Moving people and equipment and 5012 Demonstrate musculo-skeletal care and handle people safely in a health or disability setting as the only education specific to this area in New Zealand.

The Moving and Handling Association of New Zealand has a new website: This non-profit association aims to promote safe moving and handling practice for workers in the health, disability, social and education sectors.

Report by member of the guidelines' revision panel, Angela Stevenson

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Author:Stevenson, Angela
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 1, 2011
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