We, at Moore & Jensen, represent a number of cna’s and nurses. Both of these jobs can be dangerous. This is particularly so when there are hands-on patient transfers.
Large patients are heavy to lift and can cause back injuries. Even when the patient is somewhat mobile they can fall injure whoever is working with them. I have had the opportunity to see some lifts in action and the technology can save a lot of people from being hurt.
Solutions to nursing home worker injuries seen as an investment: A Critical Choice
John Caniglia & Jo Ellen Corrigan, The Plain Dealer [email protected]
CLEVELAND, Ohio – From a mid-sized nursing home in Northwest Ohio, Joe Jolliff became a national leader in worker safety.
Jolliff served as the administrator at the Wyandot County Home, later known as the Wyandot County Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, from 1982 through 2003. His initiatives to address staff injuries drastically reduced worker compensation claims and turnover. He modernized the 100-bed nursing home, relying on technology to lift and move residents.
The tools he employed increased the safety of the staff and the quality of care for residents. He crisscrossed the country, urging administrators as far away as California to empathize with their staffs by embracing technology.
“We expected nurse’s aides to lift people,” said Jolliff, who lives in Florida and is retired. “That’s just not right. Our bodies can’t do that repeatedly.”
Researchers and government reports make clear that working as a nurse’s assistant is among the jobs with the highest reported rates of injury in Ohio and the country. Nursing assistants are hurt three times more often than the average worker, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To reduce injuries, advocates for nursing home residents say more must be done to make the job safer for nursing assistants and nurses. They have urged administrators to spend more money on lifts and on training.
They point to Jolliff’s work as an example.
Frustrated after two aides got hurt in the mid-1990s, Jolliff decided to spend about $116,000 of the Wyandot nursing home’s funds to install pieces of various equipment, including ceiling lifts. The lifts can move residents who need help transitioning from beds to wheelchairs or to the bathroom, without the physical strain on the nursing assistants.
He also purchased electric beds, which allowed staff to easily raise and lower the height for easier access to wash and turn residents.
The equipment had an immediate impact. In the mid-1990s, the Wyandot facility was paying an average of $140,000 a year in workers’ compensation claims, according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
After spending money on the equipment, the nursing home paid out an average of $4,000 a year in workers’ compensation claims in the early 2000s.
“It was the right thing to do,” Jolliff said.
Administrators now at the nursing home said they continue to use lifting mechanisms to reduce the physical strain on staff.
‘We didn’t wait’
Few nursing homes have heeded the message of worker safety like the Trinity Community of Beavercreek, near Dayton.
In 2009, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had notified the 99-bed nursing home of the number of its employees who had been off the job because of injury.