New Weight-Based Guide for Moving Surgical Patients

Manual or assisted movement of a patient into surgical position depends on patients weight

FRIDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- The decision to move patients to and from a surgical position manually or using assisted technology should be based on their weight and the surgical position, according to a study published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Thomas Waters, Ph.D., C.P.E., from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, and colleagues outlined specific ergonomic solutions for high-risk patient-handling tasks in the perioperative clinical setting in the AORN Ergonomic Tool 2 guidelines (Positioning and Repositioning the Supine Patient on the Operating Room Bed). These guidelines aim to protect both the patient and caregiver from injuries associated with moving patients.

The investigators suggest that patients weighing less than 68 lb (30.5 kg) can be moved manually into semi-Fowler position by a minimum of three caregivers, while those weighing more need additional assisted technology. Patients weighing less than 115 lb (52.2 kg) can be moved manually to or from the lateral position by a minimum of four caregivers, while those weighing more need at least three caregivers and assisted technology. Patients weighing less than 141 lb (64.1 kg) can be moved manually to or from the lithotomy position by a minimum of two caregivers, one for each leg, while those weighing more need assistive technology or at least four caregivers.

"It is important to determine which tasks may be safe to perform manually and which should be performed with the assistance of technology," the authors write.

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