Back injuries are the most common type of injuries among CNAs after CNA training. It’s an “occupational hazard” that many struggle to avoid. Even seasoned CNAs sometimes get into a hurry and fail to take the appropriate measures to keep their backs safe, even though they were taught how to in CNA training and it has been a subject that has been reviewed in every inservice since then.
While there may be times when you are in a rush after CNA training, that’s no excuse not to take care of yourself. A back injury could prevent you from continuing with your regular job tasks, or prevent you from continuing as a CNA at all. Avoid them, with these essential tips.
Preventing Back Injuries After CNA Training
- Whenever you are moving or lifting patients after CNA training, always bend with your knees! This puts most of the weight on your legs, which are much stronger than your back, and eliminates much of the weight being placed on your lower back. Remember to keep your back straight as well!
- Don’t just jump into lifting and moving a patient after CNA training. Evaluate the situation and determine what it will take to move them from one place to another. This will help you prepare for the task ahead and help you determine- before you start- whether you need help or the assistance of a mechanical lift.
- Talk to the patient before you begin moving him or her; let them know exactly what you are going to do and ask them to help as much as possible. When the patient understands clearly what your goal is after CNA training, they may be able to assist you and reduce the amount of weight placed on your body as you are lifting, pulling, and moving them from bed to chair or from chair to bed. Asking for their help is simple as well; for example, you can ask them to dig in their heels as you lift or bend their knees.
- Keep your center of gravity in your center. Don’t let it fall to one side or another.
- Don’t lock your knees when you are moving someone after CNA training. Keeping your knees slightly flexed will prepare your body in case you fall or your patient falls.
- Chair rails, siding boards, and draw sheets can all be tools that can assist you when moving a patient. For instance, a draw sheet works well when you need to move a patient up in the bed or side to side.
- If a patient is falling, DO NOT try to catch them. While you might think you can catch them and prevent them from suffering any serious injuries, the truth is you probably won’t. Most likely, both of you will be hurt, and you will be unable to provide the care they need.
- Is moving a particular patient after CNA training going to be difficult? Don’t try to do it alone. Ask for help, and stay safe!