BOX 1. Overview of a hospital safe patient handling policy.
1. To establish an ergonomics systems approach to non-therapeutic patient handling and movement
2. To outline criteria for assessing patient mobility.
3. To define the procedure for patient transfer within“X” Hospital.
4. To ensure the safe transfer of patients from one position to another while protecting employees from
potential injury situations.
SCOPE: All “X” Hospital staff members whose job class description includes patient handling and
1. “X” Hospital is committed to providing safety to its patients while protecting the health of its employees.
2. Staff teamwork is of the utmost importance while performing patient transfer procedures.
3. All levels of direct patient care staff must be willing to participate in order to create a safe environment
for our employees and their patients.
4. “X” Hospital direct care staff admitting a new patient to the nursing unit will complete the initial
mobility assessment and assign a mobility status. Mobility assessments are ongoing and charted
appropriately as each patient’s condition changes.
5. Each patient’s mobility status will determine the appropriate patient transfer device (PTD) to be utilized to transfer all “X” Hospital patients.
6. The mobility status matrix will guide each patient transfer procedure unless otherwise specified by
the department manager or nursing supervisor, with physical therapy department staff consultation,
or by the attending physician.
7. Department managers may allow variances to this policy based upon unit-specific patient population
8. This policy applies to all “X” Hospital patients whose body weight is 23 kg/51 lb or greater.
Source: Adapted from Providence St. Vincent Hospital, Olympia, WA.
The cost of implementing an SPH
program varies significantly depending
on the equipment needs for a particular
area. However, research has shown that
the initial investment in both equipment
and training in direct patient care areas is
generally recovered in as little as 2–3
years. 1 Equipment costs vary depending
on the type of device, which is why
performing an initial needs assessment
is so important. Simple lateral transfer
devices, such as low friction slider sheets
(which are generally recommended for
use with patients up to 150 lbs) can cost
as little as $20. For patients between 150-
250 lbs, there are more robust lateral
transfer devices in the $800 range. Air-
assisted lateral aids cost approximately
$3000 and are recommended for patients
greater than 250 lbs. Mobile or overhead
ceiling lifts are necessary for bariatric
patients weighing greater than about 400
lbs and generally range from $5000-
$8000 depending on a variety of factors.
Savings are realized both through direct
costs such as reduced workers’ compensation costs, but also in improvements in