Safe resident handling programs reduce employee injuries, costs in LTC facilities

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Long-term care facilities with safe resident handling training programs have significantly lower rates of caregiver injuries than facilities without such programs, new research finds. Facilities with safe resident handling programs are also more attractive to potential employees, according to the vendor-backed study.

Investigators from Prevent Inc. monitored 105 long-term care facilities for 12 months before and after the implementation of a safe resident handling program. In the year before the program started, the combined facilities reported 682 caregiver injuries related to resident lifting and transferring, for a total cost to the facility of $3,500,365. In the year after the program started, only 45 injuries were reported, with a total cost of $110,509.

Researchers noted that while training caregivers to use mechanical lifts can be helpful, inadequate training can be hazardous. “The best practice is to use expert-level safe handling nurses who train, mentor, and observe the caregiver's skills during the provision of care,” they wrote in the study.

The study was published in the July issue of the Annals of Long-Term Care.

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