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    After the patient fall: How to save your back

    Henry Rosevear, MDDr. RosevearI recently wrote a blog about the danger of falls among the elderly and was surprised by the comments I received. I suppose that simply further highlights my naivety when it comes to this subject. I expected to hear from my fellow urologists with stories of similar patients, but instead, I primarily heard from nurses, specifically inpatient nurses.

    Interestingly, not only were they concerned about the danger of falls to patients (think of all the elderly, narcotized, confused patients they deal with) but also to themselves. 

    Excuse me, I asked? The danger of patient falls to a nurse? I’ll admit that the first mental picture I had was of a particularly overweight patient literally falling on top of a diminutive nurse, but I was smart enough to keep that thought to myself. Yes, one nurse went on to explain, safely picking up a patient after a fall is very challenging.

    Read - AUA 2015: PSA paper, tough live surgery are lasting memories

    Thinking back to medical school, I remember a session we had with a very charming yet grizzly old nurse, sometime in my first or second year, who taught us how to use “proper body mechanics” to pick up and help transfer patients. I remember the incident well because of a comment she made at the end of the session: “At least now, you guys can do something useful when you get to the floors.”

    I guarantee that while not everyone may be familiar with the term “proper body mechanics,” everyone has at least once heard the phrase, “Lift with your legs and not your back.” Other keys to proper body mechanics include keeping the object you are lifting close to your body, using your stomach muscles to protect your spine, and bending at the knees and not the waist.

    NEXT: "There is basically no safe way for a person (or even a group of people) to lift a patient."

    More from Dr. Rosevear

    Complications bring out urologists’ ‘human’ feelings

    Taking the boards: Not a bad rite of passage after all

    PSA testing: It's not your choice, it's the patient’s

    Henry Rosevear, MD
    Dr. Rosevear, a member of the Urology Times Clinical Practice Board, is in private practice at Pikes Peak Urology, Colorado Springs, CO.


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