Wy’East Medical’s High-Compliance Solutions Help Reduce Healthcare Worker Injuries as California's Landmark Safe Patient Handling Legislation Becomes Law

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Oregon’s premier medical device manufacturer, Wy'East Medical, addresses the challenges of ‘back-breaking’ healthcare work with zero-lift patient transfer products to meet new requirements mandated by California’s AB 1136

Wy'East Medical's TotaLift-II Chair helps healthcare workers, caregivers avoid back injury while addressing new safe patient handling mandates.

Oregon’s Wy’East Medical, has been designing and manufacturing mobility solutions for safe patient handling for over 20 years. In fact, Wy’East helps to move patients in one out of three hospitals in the United States.

Devastating physical and financial blows have been felt for years from both sides of the hospital curtain due to the alarming rate of healthcare workforce injuries. According to the American Nurses Association, more than one-third of back injuries among nurses and other caregivers have been associated with the handling of patients and the frequency with which caregivers are required to move them. It is estimated that the cost to the nation in 2008 was 7.4 billion dollars in direct and indirect costs for worker’s compensation claims, medical bills, and staff replacements for health care workers (U.S. Senate, 2010; UMass, 2011).

As a result of the staggering statistics regarding occupational healthcare injuries, nine states have mandated legislation that requires powered lifts and transfer devices in lieu of manual lifting. California now follows suit with the Hospital Patient and Health Care Worker Injury Protection Act (AB 1136), which became law on January 1, 2012. Acute care hospitals in California will now be responsible to implement Safe Patient Handling (SPH) policies to mitigate injury and protect caregivers and patients.

Working to minimize risk for caregivers, patients and healthcare facilities alike, Oregon’s Wy’East Medical, has been designing and manufacturing mobility solutions for safe patient handling for over 20 years. In fact, Wy’East helps to move patients in one out of three hospitals in the United States. The company’s TotaLift-II Transfer Chair, an innovative stretcher that converts to a chair, is currently being used in thousands of healthcare facilities around the world and offers a simple option to manual lifting. The patented design provides for a transfer pad that actually moves the patient from bed to stretcher — and back again — with absolutely no lifting on the part of the caregiver.

“The proper use of patient transfer systems results in a dramatic reduction in injury to caregivers and patients. Many organizations have seen the benefits where they matter most — on the bottom line,” said Eric Race, president and founder of Atlas Lift Tech, a company that provides safe patient handling programs and services for the medical industry. “These results are measured in terms that most organizations notice: fewer claims and a marked reduction in lost days away from work (DAW). We have found the Wy’East TotaLift-II to help us accomplish just that.”

Improper lift procedures are virtually negated by the simple transfer process of the TotaLift-II. And the equipment is appropriate in almost any care environment, from ICU to cardiac care to orthopedics, burn units and more. All processes are either hydraulic or mechanical, eliminating the need for a power source. Wy’East’s patient transfer systems are flexible, ergonomically sound and designed for varying bed heights and tight spaces. As a rule, they are manufactured in accordance with the highest manufacturing standards.

"I have used the Wy’East TotaLift chairs in critical care and step-down units for the past ten years -- it is one of the most useful assistive devices available on the market,” says Pat Henry, RN, MS, Nurse Manager, ICU/TCU, San Francisco, California. “The chair is practical, simple to use and ergonomically correct. And according to our patients, it is comfortable and secure.”

Wy’East patient transfer solutions offer:

  •     Compliance—used and reordered the most by staff;
  •     Practicality—no batteries, assembly or electricity required;
  •     Proven track record—reduces risk of back injuries in patient handling;
  •     Bottom line benefits-–fewer lost workdays and injury claims;
  •     Training support--provided by qualified Wy’East staff

“Compliance with new laws like AB 1136 can seem challenging for medical facilities, but we’ve found that hospitals using the TotaLift-II are seeing greater acceptance among staff because of its ease of use,” said Steven Smith, president, Wy’East Medical. “Healthcare staff is far more likely to comply with new policy and use safe patient handling systems if they are accessible and simple to use.”

Besides the TotaLift II Transfer Chair, Wy’East patented lateral patient transfer systems include the TC-300 Treatment Chair, an all purpose chair that converts into a stretcher, transfer accessories such as slings, trays, upper side rails, and friction reducing devices such as the Pink Slip slide sheet.

Twenty-first century patient transfer systems can make a dramatic reduction in injury to caregivers and patients. Now, through legislation, the reduction should be even more impressive with mandates to enlist safe patient handling processes.

About Wy’East Medical
A privately-held company, Wy'East Medical, has been developing and manufacturing high compliance solutions for safe patient handling in hospitals and care facilities for more than 20 years. Wy’East’s unique, patented lateral patient transfer chairs are designed to minimize risk and enable caregivers to move patients safely and comfortably without lifting – facilitating “zero” or “no” lift policy compliance. Wy'East houses both its corporate offices and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Clackamas, Oregon — a suburb of Portland — with full access to shipping providers for both national and international destinations. The company takes its name from the Native American term for Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest, most majestic peak. For more detailed information, visit the Wy’East website, http://www.wyeastmedical.com.

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Claudia Johnson

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