3 Tips for Safer Patient Handling

Jennifer Thew, RN

Take time, educate patients, and use assistive technology to curb injuries, says a nurse honored for reducing workplace injuries.

In a culture of drive-thru restaurants and text messages, it can be easy to forget that faster is not always better. But that’s the message Roxanne Hupp, RN, occupational health coordinator at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, CO, is trying to get across regarding safe patient handling.

“In my mind, if patients feel comfortable and safe and feel the staff is doing their best to take care of them, then time is less of an issue,” she says.

In May, Hupp was recognized as a Nightingale Luminary by the Colorado Nurses Foundation for her work in reducing workplace injuries.

The 83-bed hospital has seen a downward trend in the number and severity of patient handling injuries. In 2012, there were 10 patient handling injuries—three of which were serious and resulted in a large number of lost, transferred, or restricted work days, says Hupp.

In 2013, the number of patient handling injuries dropped to six, with two that were considered serious. In 2014, there were six patient handling injuries, but none were considered serious.

Hupp has tackled patient-handling injuries in a number of ways, including equipment, education, and culture change. Here are some of her insights for handling patients safely: