Manual handling is an incredibly important part of being a healthcare worker in Australia. Nurses and carers regularly use equipment to move clients, make them more comfortable, keep them safe or help them walk. Training to use mobility equipment and interact with clients and team members professionally and respectfully is the key to safe and successful manual handling.
Keeping everyone safe is the priority when moving clients manually or with equipment. It’s important to always look out for any risks or potential issues. For example, if a client has weakness on one side due to a stroke, you must keep that side secure when moving them. Safety also involves avoiding falls, skin tears and bumps. Staying aware of potential risks and communicating with those around you is the best way to avoid injuries and accidents when undertaking manual tasks.
While safety is essential, it’s also important to keep patients’ comfort and dignity in mind when moving them. If possible, communicate with them and tell them what you’re doing before you do it. Make sure they feel comfortable and ask them to do as much of the moving as they safely can. If you’re using a hoist during the colder months, cover them with a blanket or towel to keep them warm. If you are moving them to the shower, cover them with a towel for privacy and comfort.
It’s also important to keep yourself and your co-workers safe. Communicate clearly with those around you and make sure everyone understands their roles. Communicating clearly minimises risks and ensures the manual handling task is completed as smoothly and comfortably as possible.
Confidence is also a key factor in good manual handling techniques. Knowing what you and your team are doing will ensure that you remain confident while completing tasks. It will also make your client or patient feel more comfortable and confident too.
Undertaking manual handling training is vital for healthcare workers. Most people who work in the healthcare industry will be required to use their manual handling skills regularly. Keep your training up-to-date and take a manual handling course annually or whenever you feel you need a refresher. The better your skills and knowledge, the safer your manual handling technique will be.