Lifts and other safety measures lead to 40% reduction in nurse injuries

VA hospitals are leading the way in promoting nurse safety and reducing workplace injuries.
This news comes from the latest installment of NPR’s “Injured Nurses” series. The previous three reports have explored how often nurses are injured on the job (particularly concerning back injuries) and what hospitals are doing (or aren’t doing) for nurses after injuries occur.

Those first three installments of the series provided an often bleak assessment of nurses’ chances of injury on the job and what responsibilities hospitals are taking. This week’s article, however, highlights how VA hospitals are among the leading facilities in the country when it comes to promoting nurse safety through training and technology.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced in 2008 that it would take measures in all of its 153 hospitals to prevent nurse injuries. Safety measures included adding lifts in patient rooms and other areas to move patients so nurses don’t have to do it on their own.

So far, the VA has spent more than $200 million on these measures. But it reports that before these measures were put into place, VA hospitals were spending more than $22 million per year treating injuries of its nursing staff.

While research on the results of the new measures is ongoing, federal researchers say nursing injuries from moving patients have been reduced by an average of 40 percent around the country. In one example at Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., not one nurse was hurt badly enough to miss work during the previous year.

Have you been injured lifting a patient? Do you work in a facility with lifts or other safety measures to help move patients? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

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