Trend: Hospitals investing in patient lifting devices

In some cases under threat of legislation, hospitals are increasingly investing in patient-lifting and sliding equipment. Such equipment is helping nurses avoid on-the-job injuries and lowering worker's compensation claims, observers say. The equipment, which includes overhead lifts, lifts that help patients sit and stand and special sheets that make it easier to reposition or move patients, is helpful not only in protecting nurses from routine injuries, but also dealing with the growing population of extremely obese patients they treat. The equipment can be pricey--costs may hit $5,000 for each overhead lift, and the slider sheets can cost $60-odd dollars each--but they can save millions by avoiding nurse injuries and lost time on the job.

While many of these investments are voluntary, they may not be in the future. For example, in New Jersey, the state's legislature should soon vote on a bill which would require hospitals and nursing homes to keep manual lifting by employees to a minimum. Similar laws are in place in seven other states.

To find out more about lifting equipment use in hospitals:
- read this piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer

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