Patient lift study

Liberein, Enschede

Liberein is a large healthcare facility, located in Enschede, The Netherlands. At Liberein focus is on the wellbeing of both clients aswell as employees. The internal program “Fit for Work” was started for this purpose. An important focus point within this program is the physical health of caretakers, especially while maneuvering patient hoists.

On average, a patient lift is moved about 11 times over the course of a working shift. Clients are mainly transported from the bed to a chair, or transported to the bathroom. These actions require a lot of push and pull maneuvers from the caretaker, thereby significantly contributing to their physical burden. One of the measures Liberein has taken to reduce physical strain of employees is the use of esense patient lifts.

This case study presents the results of a female caregiver, while working with motorized esense patient lifts. The physical effort needed to maneuver the lifts has been investigated while using the esense ergometer. Results are linked to existing and well accepted safety guidelines and legislations.

To create specific guidelines for use of the esense lift, relevant information was gathered during the measurement period.

Average number of start-stops per 8 hours
11 times
Estimated average distance per start-stop
2 meter
Push height of the handlebars of the product
90 cm
Average push time per start-stop
33 seconds

Based on ISO 11228-2 the maximum push and pull forces that should not be exceeded by women, while maneuvering this product, are 25 kg while pushing and 26 kg while pulling. These limits mark the ‘red health zone’. Exceeding these limits is considered to be unhealthy for the human body.

There is a transition phase between the safe ‘green health zone’ and the ‘red health zone’. Attention is required in this phase. Especially when the posture of the user shows rotations of the upper body, or when maneuvers are made with one hand. This transition phase, the ‘orange health zone’ starts at 16 kg for both push and pull movements.

The force needed to initiate a movement has been determined for each start-stop event during the measurement period. In general, this force is higher than the force required to keep the product rolling on a constant speed. The results of this study underscribe this general observation.

The average force to initiate a movement
9 kg
The average force over the period of a start-stop event
5 kg

The forces  that were used over the entire measurement period have been related to the various health zones.

In conclusion, the physical strain that is encountered by the female healthcare professional while maneuvering the esense patient lift is of an acceptable level. The forces that are used to transport the client are quite low.  Therefore, the risk for overuse injuries is also low.

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To measure is to know! Measurements with the ergometer objectively pinpoint the health risks in daily tasks.

Dr. Ir. Juliet HaarmanResearcher at University of Twente