EMS World

NOV 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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36 NOVEMBER 2018 | EMSWORLD.com J ust about everyone will tell you to lift with your legs. The number of lifting-related injuries to EMTs and paramedics remains unacceptable, though, so maybe we're doing it wrong. Let's consider a different approach: Lift with your head. What this means is to think through and plan your lift care- fully before beginning it and keep the movement environment sterile (i.e., free from distractions and obstructions) as you execute it. Of ten, through communication and planning the transfer, you can avoid not only the need for a second unit but any heav y lifting at all. From the Beginning Let's do a little outside-the-box thinking. If we keep doing what we currently practice in the field, the injury rate will not magically get better. When should improvement start? Right at the begin- ning of the shift! You set the tone from the outset with a discussion of crew resource management (CRM) and threat and error management (TEM). What are the threats for today? Driving through intersec- tions, fatigue, distractions, weather, dropping a patient, and hurting yourself are a few possibilities. What do we do if we see one of these developing? Say something! When you get dispatched, are there bits of information that could help you? Does dispatch routinely ask the patient's approximate weight as well as the age? If not, why not? Patient weight is not terribly important to dispatch, but it is to you. Once on scene gauging safety isn't just a onetime evaluation. Expand your scene size-up to where the dangers of lifting or hurt- ing yourself or your patient might be. The biggest question to ask yourself is, "Do we need to lift that person or object in the first place?" If you don't lift it, it won't hurt you. If a patient can safely rise and ambulate under their own power, let them. It is OK to let some people stand up on their own if they can. If they are unable LIFT WITH YOUR HEAD TOO By Dick Blanchet, BS, MBA Thinking your patient movements through in advance can help reduce injuries Use shoulder straps to help limit patient movement. Photos by Dick Blanchet

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