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The mobility of patient information is a little trickier, especially if the different people along the route don’t communicate properly, Spruce said.
She recommends facilities develop a consistent communi-
cation method for staff to use to make sure everyone is on the
same page with the patient and mistakes aren't made. This
could be something simple as an acronym like SBAR, which
stands for situation, background, assessment and recom-
mendation. What’s important is it’s something that will work
every time, she said. “(Facilities) have to develop it, chose
something on their own, and then the whole facility needs to
Once the patient reaches the OR, it’s important to have
a patient handling device ready and available for when they
leave, she said. “I think there’s a huge gap in appropriate
patient handling equipment. Almost every patient after their
surgery, when they’re finished and going from operating room
bed to stretcher, unless they’re wide awake, will need some
Jaime Murphy Dawson, MPH, American Nurses
Association’s senior policy advisor on occupation health
and safety, agreed, saying ORs were hardly alone in this
equipment shortage, despite the different options available.
Equipment is safer for the patient, who is at risk for being
dropped or hurt when being moved by a nurse or two, she
said, adding nurses are also less at risk for skeletal injuries
if they have equipment to assist them. “We’re losing skilled,
experienced members of the healthcare team because of these
injuries,” she added.
Patients also report feeling more dignified when equipment
is used, especially the heavier patients, she said. “Nurses are
going to be a little bit nervous to move someone who’s a few
100 pounds, and I think patients can feel that,” she explained.
“They don’t want to hurt their nurses either.”
After the patient enters the recovery room, which means a
few more new faces, the goal, of course, is to get them out the
door and on their way home as soon as possible so they’re less
susceptible to healthcare associated infections, Spruce said.
If they do stay in recovery for a few days, patient handling devices should be available to help them with daily tasks, like going to
the bathroom, and get them back on their feet, Dawson said.
By Isabelle Werkheiser, Director of Marketing at
Performing lateral patient transfers and positioning in
the OR poses a high risk for musculoskeletal injuries of
the lower back, shoulder, and neck, with the increase in
bariatric patients contributing to this.
Perioperative staff have the challenge of moving
patients into supine, lithotomy, semi-prone, or prone
positions, while accommodating various specialty operating room tables. Often safe patient handling technology
is unavailable or not easily used with the equipment,
resulting in manual handling of the patient and a greater
likelihood of injuries.
The AORN Ergonomic Tool was published in 2011
to provide guidelines for technology use. It states:
• Supine to supine patient transfers with patients <157
lbs., a friction-reducing or assistive device required
(minimum four caregivers), and
• Patients >157 lbs., a mechanical lift with supine
sling, mechanical lateral transfer device, or air-assist-
ed lateral transfer device required (three or four
When choosing equipment, seek versatile devices to
ensure use and efficacy. Following the AORN guidelines
and using appropriate, multifunctional devices can help
significantly decrease the risk of patient handling injuries
for OR staff.
AORN J 93 (March 2011) 334-339. Published by
Elsevier Inc. on behalf of AORN, Inc. doi: 10.1016/ j.aorn.2010.08.025