Most nursing assistants spent quite a bit of time learning to lift residents during their CNA training. In the past, there was always the risk of injury and many CNA’s were required to lift patients who they were physically incapable of. CNA training taught two methods of lifting, one alone and the other with another CNA. CNA training also often included the mechanical lift method, but not always. Well, for any CNA who has experienced strains or sprains, hurt muscles, aching joints, or were just plain tired of lifting patients alone, there’s good news on the horizon, and it comes in the form of a new Safe Patient Handling Bill. Here’s the breakdown.
CNA Training and the Safe Patient Handling Bill
On October 9, 2011 a very important bill was passed into law, one which has made great strides for the nursing community. The bill became a law on January 1, 2012. What exactly does this mean for CNAs?
The bill, which is called the A.B. 1136 Swanson Safe Patient Handling Legislation, is considered to be the strongest healthcare worker and patient protection measure in the United States. The bill requires that all health care institutions provide around the clock lift teams and specialized lift equipment to help in the proper and safe handling of patients. The lifts or teams will be based on severity of illness as well as worker safety. The charge nurse responsible to coordinate the care of each patient will be responsible for professional judgment when coordinating patients who need to be professionally moved, and when.
CNA Training – What Does the New Bill Mean for You?
Some CNAs are afraid their particular facilities will not comply, but according to the new law, every care facility, even rural and children’s facilities have to comply. The only places exempt from the law are correctional facilities and developmental centers. Besides this, all facilities must comply, punishable by law if not put in place. If you’re wondering how it will be enforced, the Occupational Safety and Health Act will have jurisdiction over the bill and will be the enforcers.
So, My CNA Training for Lifting is No Longer Needed?
No, you’ll still occasionally be asked to assist with lifts and you’ll certainly need the information and CNA training you’ve received for emergency situations, but as far as lifting on a day to day basis, you will no longer be required to lift patients and you will not be disciplined or reprimanded in any way if you, based on your judgment, feel that it isn’t safe for you to lift a patient.
If you’re wondering who these lifting teams will be, the hospital or medical facilities will be training and designating the lift teams.
As you can see, your CNA training and your career is continuing to improve and evolve. If your hospital or facility hasn’t put a lift team into policy yet, talk to the charge nurse or ask your direct supervisor.
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