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SDHB Finalist in NZ Health Innovation Awards

Thursday, 6 January 2005

SDHB Finalist in NZ Health Innovation Awards "Bear hugs are out, handling aids are in"

A programme to help minimise the risk of back injuries to staff in Southland Hospital's Rehabilitation Unit has been named one of 25 finalists from 145 entries in the 2005 New Zealand Health Innovation Awards.

Safety for all in a Rehabilitation Unit was developed to reduce the risk of injuries to staff working in the unit when manually handling patients and to support staff in achieving full compliance with the ACC Manual Handling Guidelines (2003), Fran Cook Patient Services Manager Rehabilitation and Support said.

"Staff safety is just as important as patient safety when it comes to manual handling. We wanted to develop a diligent safe handling culture whereby staff would have no hesitation or self-consciousness in utilising a range of manual handling equipment," Mrs Cook said.

Southland Hospital's rehabilitation unit provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for patients with age-related medical problems or disability - many of whom require manual handling during their stay.

Mrs Cook said that staff had embraced the programme, which involved the promotion of safe handling guidelines, use of equipment, problem solving and encouragement.

"The new culture of safer handling practices is now very strong within the unit - bear hugs are out, handling aids are in!" Mrs Cook said, referring to the hug method of lifting patients that was used in the past.

"The value of the programme has certainly been seen with a reduction of staff injuries since its implementation. We are really thrilled to have been selected as a finalist for the awards," she said.

It was intended to roll out the programme into other medical wards within Southland and Lakes District Hospitals, following the success of the safe handling initiative, Mrs Cook said.

Winners for the 2005 NZ Health Innovation Awards, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health and ACC, will be announced on 30 June 2004.


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