Musculoskeletal injuries continue as a major concern among healthcare professionals regarding Safe Patient Handling Legislation. The rates of injuries published by the Bureau of Labor are worth reviewing:
- The overexertion injury rate for hospital workers is twice the average compared to all industries (76 per 10,000).
- The overexertion injury rate for nursing home workers is three times greater than all industries (132 per 10,000).
- The overexertion injury rate for ambulance workers is six times greater than all industries (238 per 10,000).
- Rising obesity rates in the United States further increases the physical demands on caregivers.
- Aging care givers in the workforce are less resilient to the physical demands of manually handling patient.
- Manual patient handling is mostly performed by nurses and support staff such as nursing aides and orderlies.
- The demands placed on nurses are increased by an ongoing nursing shortage, which is projected to reach 260,000 unfilled nursing positions by 2025.
THE SINGE GREATEST RISK FACTOR FOR OVEREXERTION INJURIES IN HEALTHCARE WORKERS IS THE MANUAL LIFTING, MOVING, AND REPOSITIONING OF PATIENTS, RESIDENTS, OR CLIENTS!
As the more States, professional organizations, industry, and academia recognize that “safe patient handling” in health care settings is paramount in minimizing musculoskeletal injuries to care givers, more legislation is being enacted. The following states have passed or signed into law such safe patient handling legislation:
|Labor Code Section 6403.5
October 7, 2011
|Public Act 97-0122
July 30, 2011
|House 7386 and Senate 2760
July 7, 2006
|House Concurrent Resolution No. 16
April 24, 2006
|House Bill 1672
March 22, 2006
|House Bill 67, Section 4121.48
March 21, 2006
|companion bills A11484, A07836, S05116, & S08358
October 18, 2005
|Senate Bill 1525
June 17, 2005
Introduced in Senate S.1113 (03/30/2023) Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2023
This bill requires hospitals to implement and submit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a staffing plan that complies with specified minimum nurse-to-patient ratios by unit. Hospitals must post a notice regarding nurse-to-patient ratios in each unit and maintain records of actual ratios for each shift in each unit. The bill also requires hospitals to follow certain procedures regarding how ratios are determined, and other staff are prohibited from performing nurse functions unless specifically authorized within a state’s scope of practice rules.
HHS must adjust Medicare payments to hospitals to cover additional costs attributable to compliance with these ratios.
Nurses may object to, or refuse to participate in, an assignment if it would violate minimum ratios or if they are not prepared by education or experience to fulfill the assignment without compromising the safety of a patient or jeopardizing their nurse’s license. Hospitals may not (1) take adverse actions against a nurse based on the nurse’s reasonable refusal to accept an assignment; or (2) discriminate against individuals for good faith complaints relating to the care, services, or conditions of the hospital or related facilities. HHS may impose civil monetary penalties on hospitals violating the ratio requirements and must publish the names of such hospitals.
The bill provides stipends to the nurse workforce loan repayment and scholarship program and expands the nurse retention grant program to include nurse preceptorship and mentorship projects.
The ResQUp™ is an important safe patient handling tool for assisting non-injured individuals who have fallen and require mild-to-moderate assistance getting up from the floor. Even so, more safe patient handling tools are needed to protect care givers in all health care-related settings.