Manual client handling and other physical tasks can cause overexertion of your muscles to cause injury. Musculoskeletal injuries are sprains and strains to the muscles and surrounding tissues, which can have life-long impact These are the leading type of injury for home and community care workers.
If you have an injury caused by overexertion or repetitive movement, you may see redness or swelling, feel a dull or aching pain, or experience weakness.
Preventing musculoskeletal injuries
- Ensure that you have reviewed the client assessment and are familiar with the mobility requirements of your client
- Use equipment, such as portable lifts, transfer boards and rails whenever possible
- Read the care plan and check for hazards to assess the risks every time you transfer or reposition a client (See Resource Section – Point of Care Risk Assessment)
- Avoid awkward positions as much as possible and ask your client to assist when appropriate
- Report changes in the client’s abilities so that the care plan can be adjusted
- Report workplace injuries early so that they can be treated quickly
- Check out additional resources and tools on SafeCare BC’s website
Are you prepared?
- I have ensured that the room is tidy and clutter-free to allow me space to work
- I am aware of my client’s mobility needs
- My supervisor has provided me instruction and training on the safe use of available mechanical aids or other equipment
- I am providing my client with cues to help me with all transfers and repositioning tasks
- I have reported information relating to my client’s changing condition that affects his or her ability to transfer or follow directions
- I am aware of the signs and symptoms of a musculoskeletal injury and will report to my supervisor if I am injured
- I know to notify my supervisor immediately if it is unsafe for me to proceed