“A hospital is a strange environment for almost everybody in the community,” says Betsy Anderson, RN, clinical manager at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “It’s not a place that people regularly visit. They usually visit because they have to or they’re coming to visit someone they love.”
Anderson says because patients are in a vulnerable position, they rely on Piedmont staff to help them safely navigate their rooms and the hospital.
“Maybe we’ve performed surgery on their hip or knee, so we’ve made them dependent on us to re-teach them how to ambulate,” she explains. “So the first time they put their foot to the floor, it’s a risk for a fall.”
Because patient safety is so important, Piedmont has invested in equipment to help staff keep patients safe.
“Patient safety is a top priority at Piedmont Fayette and across our healthcare system,” says Jill Fenimore, PT, director of the Rehabilitation and Fitness Center at Piedmont Fayette. “With our Safe Patient Handling Program, it improves the patient’s safety when we move them, transfer them and position them. This prevents skin tearing, which can happen when patients are sick and immobile.”
Employee safety is also a priority within Piedmont’s system.
“We want to make sure our staff is safe moving, transferring and positioning patients so they are not hurt,” she explains.
In the past year, the Safe Patient Handling Program has helped decrease the employee injury rate by 70 percent.
“It is unusual for a hospital to have this kind of equipment,” says Anderson. “It is specially designed, it is best practice, it is something that Piedmont felt so strongly about as to invest in. We have five types of equipment that will help with five different types of moving the patient.”
The equipment helps staff in the following scenarios:
- Transferring a patient from a bed to a stretcher, and visa versa.
- Turning the patient without causing injury.
- Helping the patient sit on the edge of a bed and move across the floor if their legs are weak.
- Retraining a patient to walk, step and stand.
- Lifting the patient out of bed.
“It has changed how we think about moving the sickest of our patients and how we can get them up and moving so we can get them better,” says Fenimore.
For more information on how Piedmont Healthcare works to protect the safety of its patients, visitors and staff, visit Piedmont’s Safety and Quality Commitment page.