Injury Risks

27 February 2015

Did you know workers in residential care facilities, including aged care, have a higher than average chance of being seriously injured at work?

 

Dressing frail, elderly, immobile and mentally impaired residents or patients in inappropriate clothing can incur muscular skeletal injuries to the carers and health professionals and loss of dignity and risk of injury to the wearer.

Improvements have been made by identifying machines/hoists/equipment that will assist but without assistive clothing, this improvement is limited.

Assistive clothing benefits the wearer by improving their dignity and easing the difficulty of dressing due to stiff limbs and other mobility/cognitive issues.

Regular clothing requires standing/twisting in stooped positions and is dangerous to ones posture; add in resistive residents and the risk of injury increases dramatically to everyone involved.

Since 1993, I have acquired a strategic view of the lack of dignity for those in care and the ongoing risks of injury to them and to their carers. I’ve experienced this across Aged Care, Dementia and Palliative Care and most recently in Bariatric Care, (those larger than obese).

Giving dignity to the frail and those receiving Palliative care is imperative.

Our rapidly ageing population and the increasing numbers who are obese and larger will threaten to greatly increase the risk of injury to our health care workers, professionals and carers unless there is a change to the methods of care.

Direct and indirect financial costs also burden our society. Aged Care facilities suffer due to lost working hours and the cost of replacement staff. In addition healthy staff will improve the dignity, care and morale of their home.

Electronic hoists and lifting devices are a positive step to reducing injuries but are ineffective unless used in conjunction with purpose designed assistive clothing which are also more efficient in nursing hours and another saving to the cost of dignified care.