Worker Safety in Hospitals
Caring for our Caregivers
Facility and Patient Needs Assessment
Facility Needs Assessments
It is easier and more cost-effective to design for safe patient handling and movement during construction and remodeling than to retrofit. Many healthcare facilities lack conveniently located storage space, so finding a convenient place to park portable lifts can be a challenge. When designing new buildings, additions, and renovations, it is important to plan for equipment use and storage. "Prevention Through Design," for example, is a national initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to minimize hazards and risks early in the design process. The Joint Commission's Environment of Care standards also promote building designs that protect patients, visitors, and staff.
The following resources can help hospitals assess their facility needs:
- The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) published the 2018 edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. The guidelines are used by more than 42 states and several federal agencies to regulate health care facility design and construction. The 2010 edition includes a patient handling and movement assessment to be performed during the planning process.
- The FGI's Health Guidelines Revision Committee, Specialty Subcommittee on Patient Movement, published a 2010 white paper titled Patient Handling and Movement Assessments. This resource provides guidance and tools to help each facility first assess the needs of its patient population and caregiving staff, and then determine the most appropriate strategies for meeting these needs in a manner consistent with project requirements and available resources.
- In 2011 (in a previous Alliance with OSHA), the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare published Beyond Getting Started: A Resource Guide for Implementing a Safe Patient Handling Program in the Acute Care Setting. This resource provides guidance for conducting a facility needs assessment and performing data analysis.
Patient Needs Assessments and Algorithms
Every patient has unique characteristics and abilities that need to be assessed on a regular basis. Each patient should have a systematic assessment—focused on the patient's mobility—to protect both the patient and caregivers against injury. In Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards, the American Nurses Association recommends adapting each patient's plan of care to meet his or her mobility needs and specifying appropriate technology and methods.
The following resource provides several algorithms to help caregivers assess their patients' needs:
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs developed its Assessment Criteria and Care Plan for Safe Patient Handling and Movement to help healthcare providers assess patients' abilities and determine the safest equipment and techniques for handling and moving each patient in a variety of situations.