Sponsored by Binder Lift
By Courtney Levin, EMS1 BrandFocus Team
The EMS safety concept is broad, encompassing everything from securing the scene of an emergency to the safe operation of emergency vehicles. And while patient and provider safety is a priority on every call, injuries during patient transport still occur with some regularity.
First responders rely on a variety of tools to prevent such injuries, however, not all of them are used at the right time or in the appropriate manner. For example, a lift sheet is intended to transport a patient, but is too often used as a lifting device, creating a scenario where both providers and patients could injure themselves.
Unfortunately, this leads to a high number of back injuries among emergency medical service providers, which hampers their ability to provide quality patient care and sometimes contributes to the end of their careers. Prehospital emergency care studies have noted that of non-fatal EMS injuries, about 42% involved the lower trunk, and half of these incidents involved lifting or moving a patient.
Although statistics on patient injuries during transport are difficult to obtain, you would be hard pressed to find an EMS provider who has not personally experienced or knows of a colleague who has seen a patient fall. or suffer any type of skin tear, bruising or separation of the shoulder as a result of displacement.
With lifting-related injuries routinely affecting patients and providers, it’s time to rethink the tools used to transport patients. Rather than relying on a lifting sheet or other improvised system when it comes time to move a patient, prehospital providers can use Binder Lift – the only lifting device scientifically proven to reduce the biomechanical stresses experienced by EMS providers when lifting patients in a prehospital environment.
GET BETTER CONTROL
Moving a patient from point A to point B is anything but simple, especially when working with bariatric patients or those who have fallen into a bathtub or other confined space. Not only do EMS providers need to ensure that they do not injure a patient while lifting, but they also need to reduce the risk of the individual falling.
By using a device like Binder Lift that attaches to the patient, first responders can have better control over the duration of patient transport.
“The patient cannot fall from the device, so the risk of a patient falling is much lower,” said Rick Binder, CEO of Binder Lift. “If you hold them up with a bed sheet, if they lose their balance, get dizzy or anything like that, you’re out of control of your patient and there’s nothing to stop them from falling.”
Binder Lift helps provide control while lifting the patient through friction around the patient’s torso, however, the device is very comfortable to wear. A cushion runs around the top of the device and rests under the patient’s armpits, helping to reduce the risk of skin tears, hand-shaped bruises and shoulder injuries.
EASIER ON YOUR BACK
Patient safety is essential during transport, but it should not come at the expense of EMS provider safety. Binder Lift can be used in a range of scenarios and only takes a few minutes to use.
Available in standard and bariatric sizes, Binder Lift helps EMS providers safely and easily lift patients of all sizes. Nylon and vinyl options are available depending on your agency’s needs with both materials featuring an easy to wash and sanitize design.
With 24 to 32 attached handles, depending on size, EMS providers can take advantage of a wide range of gripping options and harness their leg strength to safely lift a patient. Since first responders have to lift patients almost every shift, it’s essential to use tools that help reduce the strain on their backs.
COMBINE TOOLS AND TRAINING
While having a device like Binder Lift available for every call goes a long way to increasing EMS provider and patient safety, agencies can still do more to ensure injuries are kept to a minimum.
“We need to equip our suppliers where they do the most dangerous work and where they get hurt the most,” Binder said. “We also have to train the most where they get injured the most.”
First responders can sustain an injury during a number of regular activities, particularly when they have not received proper training. For many providers, lifting patients presents one of the greatest areas of opportunity for increased training.
A 2019 survey of EMS1 readers highlighted the number of departments that could improve their training efforts, especially when working with bariatric patients.
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they did not feel equipped with the training and equipment needed to safely move and transport bariatric patients. 45% said they had not received any training related to bariatric patients in the past year.
Learning how to transport patients safely is essential, but becoming familiar with when and how to use devices like the Binder Lift is just as important.
“A lot of departments train on how to use the equipment they have, but they don’t actually train on when to use that equipment,” Binder said. “We don’t educate vendors enough about when they should be using these techniques. There is quite a big gap between training and what should happen on the pitch.
Safe transport can only take place when patient and provider safety is a priority at the start of a call, and backing up with proper training coupled with helpful tools is essential. When providers can avoid injuries by using devices such as the Binder Lift, there is no doubt that patients will enjoy a much safer transport experience.
This article originally appeared in Safe transport, from A to B.
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