With Demand for Lateral Transfer Devices Growing, Do You Have the Right Moving & Handling Product Mix?
A perfect storm is brewing in the healthcare sector, one that will soon drive unprecedented demand for lateral transfer devices that not only protect the health and safety of patients, but also that of nurses and caregivers.
According to the World Health Organization, the global population of older adults—those over age 60—is exploding. By 2050, this group will number two billion, double what it is now. And as they age, demand for hospital and nursing care as well as devices and supplies, will grow, too. Additionally, ever increasing demands in acute care management to increase staff retention have ensured the growth of these products will continue.
The surge in demand will stress governments’ ability to fund care. To control costs, there will be a massive shift from care provided in hospital and nursing facilities to more home-based care. We’re already seeing that now.
One thing will remain constant: the need for improved safety amongst nurses and caregivers responsible for moving patients. Demand for high-tech lateral transfer devices that are safe and comfortable for patients, that help prevent pressure ulcers, skin abrasions and bruising; and that are easy for caregivers to use will grow exponentially.
The ongoing challenge of making patient handling safe
Moving patients, specifically the lateral transfer of patients from bed-to-bed or bed-to-surgical trolley, is one of the most physically demanding tasks for nurses. Traditional methods such as using a draw sheet require brute strength, particularly when moving large, ill or physically disabled people, and are risky for caregivers and patients alike.
Given that North America is often seen as a region that places a premium on caregiver benefits, especially with new technologies, consider these facts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that underscore the need for better patient handling solutions. In 2016, 19,790 nurses suffered injuries or illnesses while on the job. Over 50 percent of these injuries were musculoskeletal in nature—sprains, strains and pulled muscles. Almost 30 percent were back injuries requiring a median recovery time of seven days. And here’s a big one: female nurses sustained 92 percent of the injuries.
Patient health was also at risk from rough handling and associated falls, and shearing and bruising of skin. From a worker safety, patient care and cost perspective, none of this is acceptable. The need for better solutions is obvious.
Groundbreaking study proves friction-reducing devices are best
In 2006, a clinical study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of lateral transfer devices compared to traditional draw sheets. The setting was a U.S. Veterans Administration hospital. Nurses, 80 percent of whom were women, were required to use eight different devices in an acute patient setting over 16 weeks. They were asked to rate each device based on these criteria:
- Overall comfort to patient
- Overall ease of use
- Effectiveness in reducing injuries
- Efficient in terms of time to use
- Patient safety
At the end of the study, 179 transfers later, the nurses rated the friction-reducing devices, specifically those with air assist, as clinically superior. The cushion of air under the mattress reduced the friction between the transfer device and surface, making the transfers of patients, regardless of size and physical capacity, almost effortless. The study concluded these new devices were a more effective, affordable solution to the load and risk.*
This opened the door to an entirely new class of lateral transfer devices.
The Caremed Solution: The SafeSlide™ Air Assisted Lateral Transfer Matt
“TheSafeSlide™transfer matt is inflated with a low pressure, high volume of air. Hover holes on the underside of the the matt allow air to escape. The escaping air acts as a gentle air cushion layer, reducing friction, making movement of the mattress and the patient effortless.”
Today, there are a number of choices of lateral transfer devices that offer various degrees of quality, sophistication, and ergonomic and economic benefits. There is, quite literally, something for every budget.
Caremed, drawing upon 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing pressure-care devices, has a significant presence in the market with SafeSlide™,a range that includes both reusable and disposable versions. Both products, which include an air mattress and pump unit, reduce the risk of injury in caregivers and patients, while preventing pressure ulcers.
For the patient, the SafeSlide™matt is like lying on a cushion of air. The Shearguard™fabric on the mattress is “breathable,” reducing moisture that can contribute to pressure ulcers. Shearguard™ fabric is also soft to the touch, minimises friction and shear, other major causes of pressure ulcers.
When the nursing or care teams perform a transfer, the action is smooth; the air-assisted technology moves the patient in a stable, secure and comfortable position. Physicality is no longer a requirement for nurses or carers moving patients when using a lateral transfer device.
“Caremed’s SafeSlide™ matts are compatible with many leading makes of air pumps. Thus, if the hospital, nursing facility, or home caregiver already has transfer device pumps, they can purchase SafeSlide™ matts, without the pump, off the shelf. Buying only the consumables (matts) can save significant cost.”**
Thus far, Caremed’s disposable lateral transfer device has proved very popular. Because it is designed for single use, the risk of infection and cross contamination is low and there is no need for the time and cost of laundering/cleaning the mattress. Simply use and dispose the matt.
Both products are available in multiple widths to accommodate patients up to 1000 pounds (453.59 Kg) and are intended for use by hospitals, nursing facilities and in homes.
Add the Caremed SafeSlide™ to Your Patient Handling Portfolio
As you seek to meet the growing demands for safer, more effective patient handling products, make sure you have the right lateral transfer devices in your portfolio. There are many companies that sell slings and moving handling aids and devices, but only Caremed backs its pressure care and lateral transfer devices with 30 years of quality and clinical excellence in test labs and in patient care settings. We invite you to contact us to learn more how you can add the SafeSlide™ range to your portfolio of patient handling products.
* Friction-Reducing Devices for Lateral Patient Transfers, A Clinical Evaluation. Baptiste A et al; AAOHN Journal; 54:4:2006 173-180
** Compatibility with other branded product pumps should be checked in advance of purchase and usage.