Preventing Back Injuries As a CNA

Lifting, moving, bending and squatting are all part of the job with it comes to being a certified nursing assistant. You will spend many hours in movement testing the strength and endurance of your body and particularly your back. As part of CNA training you learn how to lift and move patients to avoid injury. It is important that CNAs develop, practice and use proper lifting and moving techniques to avoid injury and short and long term pain.

Utilizing proper lifting and moving techniques will ensure that certified nursing assistants are safe. When lifting a patient there are a variety of methods that can be used. First assess the weight and size of your patient. Do not attempt to lift a patient alone if they are obviously too heavy; seek the assistance of a co-worker. If you are moving your patient from one bed to another using a slider board can be helpful. Positioning this board beneath the patient and then moving the board to the other bed placed nearby will ease strain on the lower back. If you have to move your patient to a wheelchair it is best to sit him or her upright; turn the body parallel to your own and then placing your arms around the his or her waist while bending at the knees lift the patient to standing position to place them in the wheelchair. Always remember to lift from your knees as this causes less strain on the back. Some CNAs wear black weight belts beneath their scrubs to assist with proper lifting. Make sure that if you are moving the patient to a new bed or a wheelchair that you are close to if not flush to the transfer point. This will prevent any accidental falls and drops of your patient.

Many facilities have purchased mechanisms to assist with the lifting and movement of patients in response to a rise in back injuries amongst staff. There are portable lifts that a nurse’s aide can transport with them to assist in lifting particularly heavy patients. For patients that are bedbound an inflatable easy to move mattress can be very helpful in transport. Also, using equipment that is adjustable will ease the strain on your back. If you feel pain in your back or groin area when lifting this is a sign you are lifting too much and you should seek assistance or use a lifting device.

Of all the health care professionals certified nursing assistants incur the most back related injuries as they are the ones who do the majority of the moving and lifting of patients on a daily basis. It is imperative that all nursing assistants learn proper lifting techniques to prevent injury.

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