makers can get caught up in trying to run the
organization on a daily basis and lose focus on
areas that could make the facility run better,
improve safety, and save money.
“Hospitals are under financial pressure,”
says Charly Dalbert, Director of Business
Development and Surgical Table Systems,
TRUMPF Medical Systems, Inc. “Often the
attempt to save money happens on the wrong
end, by not investing in the right equipment
According to Dalbert, among the chief ways
hospitals can increase patient and staff safety,
improve efficiency, and cut costs is through
effective training. This means teaching per-
sonnel in ergonomic postures, how to use the
equipment properly so as to avoid creating
strain and potential injury, and repeating train-
ing efforts until lessons are internalized.
Combined with the right equipment, a well-developed plan and the proper training can go
a long way toward improving patient handling
at a facility. These efforts can keep areas such
as surgery, radiology, cath lab, CT, and x-ray
on schedule, as well as ensure patients are in
the proper place at the right time.
Then there is injury prevention. According
to MAQUET, the physical stresses and exertion involved in handling hospital patients
has caused a number of back injuries and
musculoskeletal problems among hospital
staff. Furthermore, poor surgical positioning
of patients and misuse of positioning devices
and equipment present serious risks to patient
safety, including skin breakdown, irreparable
nerve damage, and even death in some cases.
One solution is simply reducing the frequency of patient transfers from surface to
surface. This is possible with system tables
which allow the patient and the surgical table
top to be moved together on a system trolley
to the operating room table and then back to
the trolley for transport out. By reducing the
number of transfers, these interchangeable
tabletop systems reduce the number of lifts
and transfers. However, there may be times
where a device or piece of equipment cannot
be used because it is out of reach for staff. But
thanks to the development of cutting-edge
ceiling-mounted equipment management systems, the necessary patient handling tools can
now be better and more easily positioned.
Other solutions include improved communication and the implementation of hybrid
operating room technology, which enables
hospital staff to be able to treat patients in one
space faster – from diagnosis to treatment.
Some hospitals are even taking it a step further
and looking at employing dedicated managers
for safe patient handling.
Every facility is different, and certain measures employed by one may not be appropriate for another. That is where having the
proper policies and procedures in place can
prevent wrong decisions related to purchasing, training, and staff behavior, says Wilson.
“Our recommendation is to do a proper
assessment of your facility to really drill down
and find what the problem is in your facility,
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