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The Importance of Proper Manual Patient Repositioning for Caretakers

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

We met Rukmini ammal during one of our surveys at a private hospital in Bangalore. She was in the profession of caretaking elders and disabled for almost 19 years. She was a familiar figure to the hospital staff as she used to accompany her patients during their hospital visits. But, this time she was there for her treatment of the back injury. She says it developed over the years due to patient lifting and repositioning. Physically turnng and repositioning is a risk factor of musculoskeletal injuries among nurses and caregivers.

Most of the repositioning aids are insufficient to properly mitigate the injury risks in healthcare workers. Rukmini ammal says repositioning is crucial for bedfast patients to prevent pressure build-up in the body but such repositioning patients may pose an injury risk to the caregivers. The caregivers perform two tasks. one, turning the patient in the bed (lateral repositioning ) and the second, moving patients up in the (bed- boosting).

The accepted guideline for care to turn bedridden patients is every two hours. Again, this is not a one-off solution, it depends upon various other factors including, tissue tolerance levels, level of mobility, medical condition, the comfort of the patient among others. While it is crucial to upkeep the needs of the patients on one hand, on the other end of the spectrum, physical loading on the caregivers is increased along with other hardships faced by caregivers. In case there is any procedural lapse, outcomes will be worse for the patient.

From available Literature of the day, it is known that the most common of nursing injuries are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD).MSD encompasses pain and strain aggravated by lifting and turning the bedridden patients. Nursing injuries affect mostly the low back or the shoulders. As per studies, 65% of caregivers are experiencing lower back injury and 54% are experiencing shoulder injury as well.

The repositioning has to be done twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7) interrupts the natural sleep rhythm of the caretakers because of which they might feel frustrated. The process becomes even more physically demanding if the patient happens to be heavy or not cooperative with repositioning.

A robust solution is the need of the hour to safely move dependent patients. With the use of assistive devices, the physical demands on the caregivers get reduced.

Our product ETURNAL is a repositioning aid that is capable of automatically repositioning the patient to stable sleep positions maintaining clinically recommended elevation angles.


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