The potential injuries caused by incorrect lifting
Being a caregiver can be challenging. You have been charged to ensure the wellbeing, comfort and health of another individual. For some, moving can be difficult and caregivers are the people who help them move about their environment and the world. They are heavily depended on and while they look after the health and wellbeing of another, it is vital they also look after their own.
Regardless of the line of work you are in, injuries can happen. It is the duty of all employees and employers to minimise the risk of injury as best as possible. When lifting patients, caregivers must ensure they are doing so correctly to ensure they are minimising risk of injury. If they do not, there are various things that can go wrong.
Injuring one’s back is probably one of the most common injuries in healthcare. Moving patients can take its toll and cause problems for workers if done incorrectly. Not only are people heavy and large, they are also awkward, causing carers to move and twist more than they should at times, especially if the person is moving or distracting. Back injuries can range from less serious muscle strains, or joint sprains, to more serious injuries such as disc prolapses or disc slips. Lower back pain can also gradually come on over time and is usually associated with repetitive bending and/or twisting with a load.
Of course, lifting and moving requires more than just the back. Arms, legs and other parts of the body can also be negatively affected if lifting is done incorrectly.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are an occupational risk of any profession requiring manual lifting of heavy objects and/or people. Sprains occur in the joints of the body and result in ligaments being stretched. Sprains can range in severity but a severe sprain can cause the ligament to rupture, causing tissue damage and complete instability of the joint. Strains are caused when too much force is placed on a muscle. Doing something repetitively, overusing a muscle, or working beyond your physical ability may cause a strain. Strain can build up over time or happen acutely after a one-time incident so care must be taken with each task.
Breaking Bones and Dislocating Joints
Of course when lifting and moving heavy loads, you are at risk of other injuries. People are unpredictable and if caregivers are not careful, that unpredictability can result in injury to the caregiver and/or the patient. If a weight is physically more than you can handle or if that weight falls on you suddenly, caregivers can be at risk of dislocating joins or even breaking bones. Of course, the weight does not have to be a person per se, the injury could be sustained through the impact of falling or getting hit by something.
Overall, proper care is required to be taken to reduce the risk of injury to the carer and their patient. When dealing with people this can be difficult, but the right techniques and the right equipment can not only help reduce risk, but also help to make work more efficient. Carers must care for their patients to the best of their ability, and to do this they must also care for themselves.