What is Manual Handling In Aged Care

In aged care facilities, manual handling plays a crucial role in day-to-day activities within the facility. However many of us are unaware of it and usually ask what manual handling is in aged care. 

Here I have a comprehensive article on the importance of manual handling in aged care and what risks are involved in it. What are the best practices for the safety and well-being of you? 

What is Manual Handling in Aged Care

Manual handling refers to any activity that requires a person to use their physical strength to lift, move, or support a load or a person. In Australia, manual handling involves assisting aged persons at home as well as people who can not live at home. 

While in aged care homes, manual handling involves moves and handling of persons in and out of bed, assisting with toileting, transferring them from one location to another, and more. 

It also involves other tasks such as assisting in walking, sitting, and standing, wheelchair pushing, and lifting and supporting the patients. Further, it adjusts and moves medical equipment such as trolleys, wheelchairs, and hospital beds

These tasks are essential for providing quality care to elderly individuals but can also pose risks if not performed correctly.

The manual handling in aged care facilities is provided by caretakers, nurses, or physio. It can be performed by a person who is taking care of their loved ones. 

Importance of Proper Manual Handling in Aged Care

Proper manual handling techniques are crucial in aged care to prevent injuries to both the caregivers and the elderly person. So, with the correct lifting and moving techniques, caregivers can reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries.

Additionally, proper manual handling can help maintain the dignity and independence of residents, as well as promote a safe and comfortable environment within the facility.

As a caregiver, you should approach manual handling tasks with empathy, respect, and sensitivity to ensure that residents feel supported and cared for throughout the process.

Common Manual Handling Tasks in Aged Care

Here I will discuss the common manual handling tasks that you need to perform in aged care facilities. Here are examples of manual handling in care facilities; 

1. Assisting with Transfers

One of the most common manual handling tasks in aged care is assisting patients with transfers from bed to chair, chair to toilet, or other locations within the facility. Proper lifting techniques and knowing the use of assistive devices can help you prevent injuries during the moving process. 

2. Supporting Person with Mobility

Caregivers often need to support residents with mobility issues while walking or moving around the facility. This can involve providing physical support, using mobility aids, or guiding residents to prevent falls and other accidents.

3. Helping with Personal Care Tasks

Manual handling is also required when assisting them with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. Caregivers must use proper techniques to ensure their safety and comfort during these activities.

4. Moving Equipment and Supplies

In addition to assisting residents, caregivers may also need to move equipment, supplies, and furniture within the facility. Proper manual handling techniques are essential to prevent injuries while moving heavy or awkward loads.

Risks of Improper Manual Handling in Aged Care

Improper manual handling in aged care can lead to a variety of risks and complications for you and your patients. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Musculoskeletal Injuries: Lifting, carrying, and moving heavy loads without proper techniques can lead to strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Some common musculoskeletal injuries that are seen in such situations are nerve pain and nerve damage, abdominal hernias, tendon damage in the wrist, elbow, and shoulder, and herniated discs within the spine. 
  • Falls and Accidents: Improper handling of residents can increase the risk of falls, accidents, and injuries within the facility.
  • Psychological Impact: If you do not perform the manual handling tasks with care and sensitivity then it may cause anxiety, fear, or discomfort to the people within the facility. 

Best Practices for Safe Manual Handling in Aged Care

To ensure the safety and well-being of both caregivers and residents, it is essential to follow best practices for manual handling in aged care facilities. Some key practices include:

  1. Proper Training: You should receive comprehensive training on proper manual handling techniques, including how to lift, carry, and support residents safely.
  2. Use of Assistive Devices: You must have knowledge and training of assistive devices such as hoists, transfer belts, and slide sheets to aid in safe transfers and mobility assistance.
  3. Risk Assessment: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement strategies to mitigate risks associated with manual handling tasks.
  4. Teamwork and Communication: Communication is essential for performing tasks efficiently and safely. You must cooperate with other caretakers and patients and communicate with them professionally to handle the tasks. You must know how to communicate with patients while transferring and moving them from one place to another. 
  5. Regular Breaks: For safe manual handling you should take regular breaks to prevent fatigue and reduce the risk of injuries related to it. 
  6. Environmental Considerations: A safe and risk-free environment is an important practice to ensure a better handling process. So having proper lighting, clear pathways, and ergonomic types of equipment can facilitate a better environment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the examples of manual handling in aged care?

The most common manual handling tasks in aged care include assisting with transfers, supporting residents with mobility, helping with personal care tasks, and moving equipment and supplies within the facility.

Q2. Why is proper manual handling important in aged care?

Proper manual handling is important in aged care to prevent injuries to both caregivers and persons. Maintain the dignity and independence of residents and create a safe and comfortable environment within the facility.

Q3. How can caregivers ensure safe manual handling practices?

You as a caregiver can ensure safe manual handling practices by receiving proper training. You must know the use of assistive devices, conduct risk assessments, and promote teamwork and communication. 

Q4. What are some assistive devices that can aid in safe manual handling in aged care?

Some assistive devices that can aid in safe manual handling in aged care include hoists, transfer belts, slide sheets, and other mobility aids that help caregivers lift, transfer, and support persons safely.

Conclusion

Manual handling is a critical task in providing quality care in aged care facilities. You can perform it perfectly by following proper techniques, utilizing assistive devices, and prioritizing personal safety and comfort. In this way, you can ensure a safe and supportive environment for elderly persons in care homes.  

Moreover, you can take manual handling training to conduct these tasks prevent injuries, and maintain the well-being and independence of residents.