Patient and/or resident handling is a major cause of injury to healthcare workers. The effectiveness of an overhead ceiling lift programme at mitigating the risk of injury from resident handling was evaluated by comparing injury data and staff perceptions before and after implementation of the programme, and by comparison with a similar unit that did not implement an overhead ceiling lift programme. A questionnaire was used to assess perceived risk of injury and discomfort, preferred resident handling methods, frequency of performing designated resident handling tasks, perceived physical demands, work organization, and staff satisfaction. Staff preferred overhead ceiling lifts to other methods of transfer (manual or floor lifts) when lifting or transferring residents. A significant reduction was observed in the perceived risk of injury and discomfort to the neck, shoulders, back, hands, and arms of care staff. Compensation costs due to lifting and transferring tasks were reduced by 68% for the intervention unit and increased by 68% for the comparison unit. Overhead ceiling lifts were not beneficial in reducing the perceived risk of injury, pain or discomfort, or compensation costs when used to reposition residents. The study demonstrated an overall cost-savings associated with the installation of the overhead lifts, and highlighted areas for further improvement.
Engst, C., Chhokar, R., Miller, A., Tate, RB., Yassi, A.

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