HOVERTECH International

My Experience: Hospitals and Safe Patient Handling & Mobility

By Kent Wilson, CIE, CSPHP

As I work with various hospitals across the country, facility administrators often ask me, “Why don’t the caregivers use the equipment provided to move their patients?” My response is simple, “Why doesn’t your facility require staff to use the equipment?”

You see, caregivers are often rewarded for doing things quickly, even though it may not be safe for both themselves and the patient. They’re often asked to choose between quickness and safety. These choices happen on a regular basis, even in hospitals that claim to promote a safety culture. In a true safety culture, caregivers should never have to choose between safety and something else.

Reward outcomes should always flow towards safety for both the caregiver and the patient. Hospitals often tell me that their number one priority is patient safety. Of course it is, but it’s impossible to provide safety for your patients if you cannot provide and insist on safety for the caregiver. If the caregiver is at risk, then so is the patient.

Safe Patient Handling & Mobility (SPHM) policies must be clear, concise and consistent. Both managers and caregivers must be held equally accountable for non-compliance. I have often joked that one way to ensure compliance would be to require the Nurse Manager, the CNO and CEO to attend retraining along with any caregiver who gets injured.

For hospitals that are concerned about weak compliance in their current SPHM program, I would recommend a complete review of the current policy to see if managers as well as caregivers are held accountable.

What we allow, we condone.  What we condone, we promote. If your policy is not enforced on a daily basis, then you’re promoting non-compliance. To paraphrase Dr. Stephen Covey, your hospital is perfectly designed to get the results you’re getting right now! 





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