Manual Handling in the Community

21 May 2016

The task of moving and lifting people in their own home has been associated with musculoskeletal injuries within the home care environment.

Manual Handling in the CommunityWhat is the problem?

The task of moving and lifting people in their own home has been associated with musculoskeletal injuries within the home care environment.

What are the risks?

Carers may be at risk of injuries from strains to the back, neck and shoulders when bending, twisting, lifting, pushing, pulling and exerting high or unexpected forces. The common sources of risk include:

  • changes in client mobility that require excess exertion by the worker to assist
  • unexpected and unplanned movement by the client
  • using inappropriate equipment and aids
  • having inadequate space to operate equipment and aids
  • using equipment and aids that are not appropriately maintained
  • attempting to stop the person falling
  • not using aids due to lack of training in the use of equipment, problems with equipment or inability to afford equipment
  • not having the appropriate number of people to assist.

These issues should all be considered during the initial assessment of the patients needs and if they pose a risk, they must be controlled prior to the first service visit by the carer.

What are solutions to the problem?

  • identify hazards associated with moving and lifting the patient, taking into account the level of assistance the patient requires
  • identify risk control measures and record them in either a separate occupational health and safety (OHS) plan or integrate the OHS controls into the patient care plan
  • ensure workers are familiar with patient's care plan and OHS controls
  • regularly review patient's mobility requirements with worker and patient to identify potential changes to patient care and update the patient care plan and OHS controls
  • encourage the patient to assist as far as is practicable

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