Nurses sustain manual handling risk assessment behaviours six-months after a training program to move patients safely: a pre-post study

Helen L. Kugler, Nicholas F. Taylor, Leanne Boyd, Natasha K. Brusco

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To determine if a patient manual handling training program focused on dynamic manual handling risk assessment for staff and patient safety, together with the patient’s need for physical rehabilitation, can be transferred and sustained in clinical practice. Materials and methods: Using a pre-post design, nurses (n = 72) from acute and rehabilitation wards participated in a 4-hour training session teaching dynamic manual handling risk assessment to safely move patients. Clinical observations audits of patient transfers were conducted prior to, and at 1-month and 6-months post training. Surveys determined experiences of training. Nurse musculoskeletal injuries and patient falls were measured 6-months after training. Results: Program patient handling skills were competently implemented 89% of the time 1-month following training and were sustained 6-months following training. There was no change in falls rates and staff injury rates were very low pre- and post-training. Training was well received and all nurses passed the competency assessment. Conclusion: The patient handling training program taught nurses to better identify factors associated with risk to themselves and their patients and gave them improved skills to help patients move. Skills were incorporated safely into clinical practice and sustained at 6-months. It is uncertain whether training impacted musculoskeletal injuries.Implications for rehabilitation A dynamic manual handling risk assessment program for safely transferring and moving patients balances staff safety with the patient’s need for physical rehabilitation. Nurses can be taught risk assessment skills to better identify factors associated with risk to themselves and their patients that can be translated to clinical practice. Thorough risk assessment at the point of the nurse-patient interaction can enable a patient to move at their highest level of function thus providing patients with opportunities to progress their rehabilitation at every interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-935
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023


  • continuing
  • education
  • nurses
  • occupational health
  • Patient handling
  • risk assessment
  • safety

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