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What steps should my organization take when building a safe patient handling (SPH) program?

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The best SPH programs employ a business model that is effective, efficient, and exemplary. Effective programs assess demands for safe patient handling and couple them with the appropriate equipment and training, as well as profiles in patient charts and bedside documents. Efficient programs ensure equipment is readily available and easy to use by frontline workers, and exemplary programs lead by example by effecting a culture change within the organization.

In order to achieve such a program, facilities should start with a gap analysis to identify if and where any weaknesses exist in their current approach.

SPH affects all areas of healthcare, from physical thera­pists to nurses, so training should be tailored to each spe­­ci­fic group in order to reinforce when and how to use equipment, and the potentially career-altering injuries that can result from failing to use proper equipment or methods.

-Colin Brigham, CIH, CSP, CPE, CPEA, CSPHP