ISCRR was recently asked to look into an intriguing question: is there a link between health and safety of healthcare workers and the clinical outcomes of their patients?
Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational illness and injury, including work related musculoskeletal disorders, fatigue and burnout. Studies consistently show that interventions such as safe patient handling programs help to reduce the number and severity of injuries to healthcare workers. There is also increasing evidence showing a connection between worker health and safety and improving patient outcomes.
Our review of the current evidence focused on two main areas:
The key findings were:
A follow-up environmental scan identified the new and emerging patient manual handling initiatives that aim to prevent worker musculoskeletal disorders and have impact on patient safety. Patient manual handling coordinators have developed and implemented a range of initiatives by examining injury causes and claims data, collaborating with OHS managers, ward managers, consultants and staff, and through identifying initiatives in other hospitals and health facilities.
It is anticipated that the findings of this review will inform WorkSafe Victoria about approaches to promote the implementation of integrated worker and patient health and safety initiatives.
The findings will be presented at the ANMF Safe Patient Handling Special Interest Group Forum on 18 May and the Australian Association of Manual Handling of People Conference on 23 May.