Baptist Health Treats Patients with TLC through New Safety Program

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Equipment and training help prevent injuries to caregivers.

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Our caregivers make every effort to ensure that our patients have the best experience and that we exceed their expectations. We know that a primary concern of our caregivers is the physical demands of their jobs. The TLC program will allow us to provide an even better environment for both our patients and our staff.

Lifting, repositioning and transferring patients are daily events for caregivers, and that puts both health care workers and patients at risk.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003), nursing and personal care facilities rank highest in the incidence of non-fatal occupational injuries and illness, with 12.6 injuries per 100 full-time employees reported in 2002. The agency also reported that one-third of these injuries resulted in absence from work, and that nursing aides and orderlies were reported to have the highest number of absentee days (44,000) due to musculoskeletal disorders.

To prevent these types of injuries, Baptist Health was the first health system in Northeast Florida to develop a comprehensive program that uses assistive equipment and devices on nursing units and in clinical departments at every one of its five hospitals to help caregivers safely lift and move patients. The program is called “Transferring and Lifting with Care” (TLC).

Baptist Health has partnered with Arjo, Inc., which manufactures lifts and other patient-transferring equipment, in this effort; Arjo is the parent company of Diligent, the consultative team that provides staff education, and assists with implementation and ongoing support.

“The Diligent clinical support consultants are helping us create a cultural change in how we lift and move patients,” says Beth Mehaffey, vice president of Human Resources for Baptist Health. “This is being accomplished through the establishment of customized policies and procedures; formal training on assistive equipment for lifting, repositioning and transferring patients; and ongoing clinical support.”

“The average age of a nurse in the United States is 48 years old, and the average patient’s weight is 250 lbs.,” says Chris Olinski, RN, MSN, COHN-S/CM, manager of Employee Health for Baptist Health. “That’s 20 to 25 years of lifting, causing wear and tear on a caregiver’s back. When you combine that with the average patient’s weight, hospitals are losing caregivers from the bedside, and these are experienced employees.”

“Health care workers are the only laborers in this country who consider 100 lbs. light,” says Holly Lemmons, LPN, employee injury specialist, Employee Health, Baptist Health. “In any other industry, such as UPS or the U.S. Postal Service, staff would enlist the use of a mechanical device to assist them with a load heavier than 50 lbs. As a result, bedside caregivers endure micro-tears to their muscles. These micro-tears accumulate over years and years of undue stress on back muscles from lifting and moving patients, which could turn into a career-ending injury.”

Baptist Health’s TLC Program rolled out at Baptist Medical Center Downtown on October 22, 2007. Baptist Medical Center Beaches concluded its training in November. Baptist Medical Center South begins training January 14 and rolls out February 2; Baptist Medical Center Nassau begins training February 19 and rolls out March 4, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital begins training March 10 and rolls out March 25.

Baptist Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Diane Raines says, “Our caregivers make every effort to ensure that our patients have the best experience and that we exceed their expectations. We know that a primary concern of our caregivers is the physical demands of their jobs. The TLC program will allow us to provide an even better environment for both our patients and our staff.”

Those receiving training include nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, radiologic technologists, nurses’ aides, patient transport staff and any other employee who is responsible for lifting, moving or transferring patients. More than 4,100 Baptist Health employees will be trained on and begin using the new minimal lift assistive equipment by March 2008. In addition, a total of 225 super users (coaches) have been trained systemwide.

“This program will not only reduce the risk of patient handling injuries incurred by our caregivers, but also will increase patient satisfaction and comfort,” says Olinski. “We are very excited about the potential of this program and how it will positively impact employee and patient safety.”

“At Baptist Health, we want to take the very best care of both our patients and our staff,” says John Wilbanks, chief operating officer of Baptist Health. “To that end, we are proud to be the first health system in the area to proactively address the potential of injury due to lifting, repositioning and transferring patients through this new equipment and training.”

Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system comprised of Baptist Medical Center Downtown and Baptist Heart Hospital; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; and Wolfson Children’s Hospital –- Jacksonville’s only children’s hospital. Baptist Health also includes cardiology and cardiovascular surgery services; a comprehensive cancer center; orthopaedic institute; women’s resource center; neurosciences, including neurosurgery and two Joint Commission-certified stroke centers; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; outpatient facilities; urgent care services and a network of primary care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. Baptist Health is the official healthcare provider for the Jacksonville Jaguars. For more information, visit http://www.e-baptisthealth.com.

Contact:
Cindy Hamilton
Director, Public Relations
Phone: 904.202.4907    

Vikki Mioduszewski, APR
Medical Writer/Editor
Phone: 904.202.5122

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Cindy Hamilton

Vikki Mioduszewski, APR
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