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Health, safety, & wellness


To provide a comprehensive program for improving healthcare worker safety, ANA recently released Implementation Guide to the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Interprofessional National Standards. Susan Gallagher, PhD, RN, a nationally recognized safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) expert and contributor to the national standards, shares her knowledge as author of the book.

The Implementation Guide complements the SPHM standards. It is written for interested individuals who do not currently have a SPHM program or are in the early stages of development. The Implementation Guide dedicates a chapter to each of the eight SPHM standards, with components that include:

  • an introductory section for each specific SPHM standard, with case studies, lived experiences, and the latest literature and research
  • ideas and insights for implementing the standard from both the employer and the healthcare worker perspectives
  • suggested resources and readings that provide an evidential basis for SPHM implementation
  • case studies to highlight SPHM issues specific to a community setting.

Partial excerpts from the Implementation Guide

Provide a system for right of refusal

Implementing Standard 1.1.3 (pages 16-17)

  • Establish a written policy that describes the meaning of “right to refuse.”
  • Use clear and concise language in the written policy.
  • Use language that includes all healthcare workers or employees who may be at risk or be placed in an unsafe situation, including but not limited to patient care associates, radiology technicians, home health aides, volunteers, and members of the valet parking service team.
  • Post the “Right to Refuse” policy in highly visible locations, such as on the inside of bathroom stall doors, in break rooms and common areas, and in policy and procedure manuals.

Standard 3. Ergonomic Design Principles in SPHM

Considerations for Community Settings: Rehabilitation Center (page 45)

Jill, a CNA at a small suburban rehabilitation center, explains that the lift and transfer device is kept in a climate-controlled storage facility off the north parking lot. This facility was selected for storage because it is nearest to the patient care area. Nonetheless, in order to use the lift, Jill must first find the key to the storage facility, report to another staff member, walk the short distance across the parking lot, retrieve the lift, and roll the lift across the parking lot, up the ramp, and onto the unit. From a quality improvement (QI) perspective, or LEAN approach, this task could be mapped out to establish the amount of time and junctures that would interfere with Jill accomplishing her task: Inability to safely and efficiently access mobility technology because of poor facility design or processes places the healthcare worker and healthcare recipient at risk.

4.1.7. Establish a system to clean, disinfect, maintain, repair, and upgrade SPHM technology
Implementing Standard 4.1.7 (page 53)

  • Recognize the value of engineering and environmental services to support processes to clean, disinfect, repair, or upgrade technology.
  • Identify an existing process to clean and disinfect technology based on manufacturers’ internal infection control recommendation.
  • Identify an existing process to maintain and repair technology.
  • Identify an existing process to upgrade technology based on evolving clinical needs and manufacturers’ recommendations for longevity.
  • Identify, by title, who is responsible for monitoring, and acting on, upgrade or recall notices for technology.

The Implementation Guide is available at www.nursesbooks.org and is offered at a reduced cost to ANA members. To learn more about the SPHM standards and related work, visit www.anasphm.org.

Jaime Murphy Dawson is a senior policy analyst in the Department for Health, Safety, and Wellness at ANA.

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