Our facility has several residents that require the use of a mechanical lift for transfers. What needs to be included in staff education/training?
Mechanical lifts are designed to provide safe and easy transfers. When used correctly, they minimize the risk of injury for both staff and resident; however, improper use of a mechanical lift could result in citation for deficient practice:
- F600 Free from Abuse and Neglect
- F689 Free of Accident Hazards/Supervision/Devices
- F726 Competent Nursing Staff
Education and Training Considerations
- The facility should have a policy, procedure and skills checklist for each type of mechanical lift used based on the manufacturer’s operating instructions and safety precautions
- Education on proper use of the lift should include instruction with a written exam and hands-on training with return demonstration to determine staff competency
- In addition to operation of the lift, education should include proper sling application. Mechanical lifts have a variety of sling types and sizes. Staff should be able to demonstrate the appropriate application of each type of sling
- Staff should be educated and trained on lift use initially, annually and prn
- Consider involving PT and/or OT in training of staff
- Lift and sling should be reviewed for good working order prior to use as part of the lift use protocol
- A minimum of two staff members should participate during mechanical lift use. One for operation of the lift and a second to determine safe positioning of the resident during the transfer. Additional staff may be required based on individual resident needs.
- Resident care plan should include type of lift, type/size of sling, minimum number of staff to assist with lift transfer
- Never leave a resident unattended while in the lift
- Do not use a lift to transport a resident unless the lift is specifically designed for transport
- Routine maintenance of lift/slings should be performed in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendation
Angie Hamer, RN, RAC-CT
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