During CNA training, the importance of safe lifting techniques will be practically drilled into your head. This is because as a CNA, you will most likely be lifting every single day. You only have one spine, and proper lifting techniques can help you care for it correctly, so you can continue helping your patients long after you finish CNA training.
CNA Training & Safe Lifting: What You Need to Know
In a long-term care facility, nursing assistants who have completed CNA training can experience a lot of time pressure, especially during specific times of the day when patients must be transferred to and from beds and chairs. With staffing shortages, the pressure of time makes lifting properly even more difficult.
However, even with time pressures, lifting correctly is still essential. Without it, you may injure yourself or even the patient. After CNA training, when you are placed in a position where you are responsible for the safe lifting of patients, you should assess the following factors.
- Equipment– What equipment is available to you? During CNA training, you will learn how to use many different types of equipment that can make lifting easier, such as a sit-to-stand lift and Hoyer lift. However, just because you were taught how to use these machines does not mean you will have access to them in your place of employment. Assess which pieces of equipment are available before you need them, so when the time comes to transfer an patient to his bed or chair, you will know what to do.
- Residents and Patients– Certain factors about your residents or patients will determine your lifting technique after CNA training. One factor you must consider carefully is the weight of the patient. Even with proper techniques learned and practiced during CNA training, each lift will have a different weight capacity, and if you do not keep this in mind, you or your patient might get hurt. The second thing to consider is the patient’s feelings. Being lifted up in the air can be a very scary process, and your patient might become anxious if you don’t take the time to explain the entire process and use the appropriate lift. The third factor you must consider is a patient’s injuries. If your patient is injured, will using a certain lift cause more damage or pain? You may need to consider how the patient will be positioned in the lift before you begin using the technique.
- Physical Environment– While you may be more concerned about your patient’s health and choosing the right type of equipment, proper lifting also involves assessing your physical surroundings. During CNA training, you will learn that a cable or a cord in the wrong place could result in a non-functioning lift and injuries to both you and the patient. Take the time to look around before starting the lift. Check to see if any obstacles must be removed from your path and whether the lift or the patient is at risk for bumping into anything above or below the bed. You may need to reposition or use a difference lift if you discover problems.
While this information can in no way replace your CNA training, it should help you take a step back and think before you lift. Even if you are pushed for time, consider all three of these factors before lifting to keep you and your patients safe.