Easing the burden of manual task injuries in disability and aged care
29 August 2022
A Queensland-based pilot program is easing the burden of people-handling injuries on nurses, support workers and carers in aged care and disability services.
The WorkCover Queensland-funded pilot program has led to a simple screening tool that staff can use to screen a patient’s mobility and then select the best techniques and equipment to help prevent injuries resulting from manually moving patients or clients.
So far, the method and training resources piloted at various sites have led to fewer injuries resulting from people-handling for those staff working in the industry.
At each pilot site during 2021, no injuries or incidents related to people handling were reported, and 97% of participants reported confidence using the mobility screening tool.
Developed by allied health experts working with Wesley Mission Queensland, CPL – Choice Passion Life, and Churches of Christ, the program uses the mobility screening method and a suite of online training resources.
High rates of work-related musculoskeletal injuries continue to occur for aged care and disability service workers, despite the use of mechanical aides to assist with people-handling tasks.
The new mobility screening method was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, unions, industry and workers and trialled in the industry with feedback sought from nurses, healthcare assistants and disability and aged care workers.
It was found that non-clinical staff can gain competence in the process through just two hours of supported learning and practice. All respondents in the pilot program perceived a lower risk of injury when they were able to make a temporary change in mobility.
The resources, including professional instructional videos, e-learning modules and a web-based app, are now freely available for use at www.mobilityscreen.com.au.