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Urgent Need for a Bill for the Safe Handling of Patient - Nwaobi.J
Date Posted: 19/Jan/2013


There is an urgent need for an important workplace safety bill to protect registered nurses and other healthcare employees from disabling injuries and safeguard patients from preventable falls. A bill for the safe handling of hospital patients. This bill would require “the replacement of manual lifting and transferring of patients with powered patient transfer devices, lifting devices, or lift teams, as specified.”  When passed into law, it would prevent devastating musculoskeletal injuries to nurses and other healthcare workers and also prevent falls and other injuries to patients related to manual patient lifting and movement.
It is worrisome that despite a virtual epidemic of deblilitating injuries to nurses, other health workers and patients linked to lack of safe policies, there is no action plan by the national nurses association or the nursing  and midwifery council of nigeria to push for this bill.
“Studies show that each time a Registered Nurse (RN) lifts a patient, that RN has a 75 percent chance of injuring his or her back. ‘Many of those nurses - as many as 83 percent - work in spite of serious back pain, ‘But when RNs leave the job because the pain becomes unbearable, their employers spend huge sums of money training and orienting replacements, causing a huge strain on hospital budgets.’ 
A major feature of this bill would require general acute care hospitals to establish safe patient handling policies for patient care units and maintain trained lift teams comprised of staff that is specifically trained to handle patient lifts, repositionings, and transfers.  The bill protects workers from disciplinary action if safety concerns cause them to refuse to lift, reposition, or transfer a patient without a lift team. Another feature Importantly, provides hospitals with flexibility to establish safe patient policies reflective of their unique needs and allows hospitals to train existing staff as lift team members to avoid the cost of hiring new employees.
“The seemingly lack of the benefits of this bill denotes nursing leaders who lack awareness of the job safety issues facing nigerian nurses in clinical practise. ‘Nurses are essential to our health care system and it is important that we have proper safety measures in place to protect them from career-ending injuries. 

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