Sunday, December 3, 2023

Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid the Most Common Source of Injury to Emergency Care Providers

Responder Resilience had an insightful chat with Rick Binder, CEO of Phase International, on the top three mistakes EMS providers make that lead to chronic pain and injuries. Rick shared a fantastic roadmap to prevent these errors, which could significantly reduce injuries in the EMS profession.

Historically speaking, according to the CDC, year over year the most common source of injury to emergency care providers is from lifting and moving patients. We have a lot of room as an industry to improve there, and that's what my focus has been on for the last decade. I started to notice trends, and in these trends, I noticed the top three mistakes EMS providers make that lead to chronic pain and injuries.

Mistake number one is using emergent moves in non-urgent situations. An Emergent move is when the environment is becoming dangerous for either the patient or us, or the patient's condition is deteriorating very rapidly. Seconds truly count and we're grabbing ankles and doing whatever we can to move the patient into a life saving environment. We shouldn't be using this move too often, but the problem is that we are. It's much more dangerous for us and our patients. Then there are urgent moves. It's still an emergency. We're still moving quickly, still moving with purpose, but we're taking time to use a piece of equipment.

The next category of patient movement is the non-urgent movement, where we're waiting for extra resources and we're using a piece of equipment, making it as safe as possible for us and the patient. We have the example of a 350-pound patient stuck in a bathtub. We see that the patient is stable; they just need help getting back up. But when we're not using a piece of equipment to get that patient up, we're likely using an emergent move, which adds a lot of compressive and shear forces on our musculoskeletal system.

Mistake number two is routinely lifting and carrying outside of our power zone, which is the area from your knees to your neck and 12 inches in front of your body.  If we can keep our hands in this Power Zone we are lifting in the safest area possible. As soon as we start reaching out of this area, we're causing severe compressive and shear forces on our musculoskeletal system that we may not see or even feel at the time, but it adds up to chronic pain and injury over the length of a career. One of the places we do this most often is with a rigid device. Anytime we're picking up a patient, say on a backboard or scoop stretcher, and we're bringing our hands down to the ground, that's well outside of our Power Zone. We need to raise that lift point to about our knees, using inexpensive handle extenders attached to the rigid device, or by putting a soft stretcher underneath the rigid device.

Mistake number three is lifting and carrying bariatric patients when we don't need to. Our bariatric patients deserve quality and prompt care, but often providers aren't equipped and trained to do that. Anytime we can engineer out the solution, like what we've done with power cots, it will help avoid the chronic pain and injury that's plaguing our industry.

Instead of carrying bariatric patients, we can avoid injury by using extrication devices to slide patients out of their residences. Then we can put a backboard attached to the foot of the stretcher with some simple straps and slide that bariatric patient up the backboard like a ramp and onto the stretcher. In this scenario, we got a patient from the bathtub all the way out onto the stretcher without ever manually lifting or carrying that patient. If we just made those three changes and avoided those mistakes, patient handling would no longer be the number one cause of injury in the EMS profession.

BIO: Rick Binder is the CEO of PHASE and has held 13 certifications from NAEMT, FEMA, and NFPA. He began his career as an EMT-I and a few years later joined his father in bringing the Binder Lift to market. After spending 10 years helping thousands of emergency care departments avoid personnel injury while improving patient care, Rick authored an accredited Safe Patient Handling Course that helps emergency care providers have longer, healthier careers.



Step into the world of RESPONDER RESILIENCE, an insightful podcast that sheds light on the challenges and triumphs of firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers, and law enforcement professionals. Hear firsthand accounts from our community's finest as they discuss critical issues on the job and share their experiences with hosts Lt. David Dachinger (ret.), Bonnie Rumilly LCSW/EMT and Dr. Stacy Raymond. Explore topics of mental and physical wellness with emergency services thought leaders, and get ready to be inspired and gain a deeper appreciation for their sacrifices and resilience.

Copyright Notice: The materials provided on this web-based article are copyrighted and the intellectual property of the publishers/producers (The NY Cancer Resource Alliance/IntermediaWorx inc. and The AngioFoundation). It is provided publicly strictly for informational purposes within non-commercial use and not for purposes of resale, distribution, public display or performance. Unless otherwise indicated on this web based page, sharing, re-posting, re-publishing of this work is strictly prohibited without due permission from the publishers.  Also, certain content may be licensed from third-parties. The licenses for some of this Content may contain additional terms. When such Content licenses contain additional terms, we will make these terms available to you on those pages (which his incorporated herein by reference).The publishers/producers of this site and its contents such as videos, graphics, text, and other materials published are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, please always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health provider. Do not postpone or disregard any professional medical advice over something you may have seen or read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately.  This website does not support, endorse or recommend any specific products, tests, physicians, procedures, treatment opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Referencing any content or information seen or published in this website or shared by other visitors of this website is solely at your own risk. The publishers/producers of this Internet web site reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, disable access to, or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, all or any part of this Internet web site or any information contained thereon without liability or notice to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment