Rethinking Safety- Haro Park’s Experience

December 17, 2014 | News

Earlier this past summer, SafeCare BC launched the Be Care Aware campaign aimed at raising awareness around the importance of safety in the workplace.

As part of the campaign, we challenged YOU to join hundreds of your continuing care colleagues across the province in creating safer work environments.

Over the past few months, we have been proud to share with you a few success stories of SafeCare BC members who have carried out terrific work in fostering a culture of safety in their work environment.

In keeping with our musculoskeletal health installment of the Be Care Aware campaign, “We’ve Got Your Back”, we would like to share with you how Haro Park Center, located in downtown Vancouver, adopted a Transfer Coach program to prevent back injuries and promote safe resident handling.

For more information on “We’ve Got Your Back” and SafeCare BC’s pilot Safe Resident Handling Tool & Workshop, click here.

Rethinking Safety- Haro Park’s Experience

SafeCare BC Visited Haro Park Centre over the summer to learn about the Transfer Coach Program

SafeCare BC Visited Haro Park Centre over the summer to learn about the Transfer Coach Program

​In 2013 Haro Park Centre (HPC), a Campus of Care located in Vancouver’s West End was faced with increasing staff injuries due to resident handling and a sling inventory system that proved difficult to manage and maintain.

In response to upward trending injury rates, HPC management undertook a proactive change management plan. The Transfer Coach program looked to improve OH&S practices and offer staff with the tools and resources to provide care to the best of their ability. In February of 2013, HPC partnered with ArjoHuntleigh to develop and initiate the HPC-specific Transfer Coach Program. The staff education program offered training on safe resident handling practices with the goal of addressing: high injury rates, budgetary constraints, staff shortages, and safety requirements. Catherine Kohm, the Executive Director recognized a key hindrance for staff was the disorganization of the sling inventory system. A disorganized sling inventory system prevented staff members from easily and conveniently locating ideal slings and resident handling equipment while on shift.

“It was often a challenge to find the appropriate sling for specific residents,” says Ilse Patterson, Manager of Assisted Living (ASL)& Education. “To ensure that slings were available when required, staff would hide slings. This became a bit of a cycle since we never had enough slings when we needed them.”

“HPC was looking at purchasing new lifts and slings, and wanted to ensure a tighter system for inventory recording and assessing sling safety. ArjoHuntleigh, who was our supplier of equipment/lifts/slings offered a Transfer Coach training program; HPC posted an expression of interest for care staff to become part of this training. In February 2013, eight care staff applied and participated in the full-day training and follow-up on-site support sessions.”

The 8 hour education program focused on three key outcomes:

  • Reductions in staff injuries and burnouts
  • Comfort for residents requiring lifting/transferring assistance
  • Staff and resident satisfaction
Transfer Coach Leader, Craig Peterson (R), demonstrates a sling lift with SafeCare BC ED, Jennifer Lyle (L)

Transfer Coach Leader, Craig Peterson (R), demonstrates a sling lift with SafeCare BC ED, Jennifer Lyle (L)

Nearly two years into the success of the Transfer Coach program, peer support has become an important component of the program, which encourages staff members to taken on the leadership role as a transfer coaches.

“The role of the Transfer Coaches is to assist and support staff who have questions about transfers or transfer equipment,” says Patterson. “They [HPC staff] have demonstrated leadership by participating in the various education sessions we have taken to staff around sling safety and safe use of equipment; by being the main participants in a Sling Blitz day which was our first audit of slings in the neighbourhoods; by being present at care reviews with staff; by volunteering to demonstrate safe lifting with SafeCare BC; and by reinforcing two person assist for all mechanical transfers.”

In addition to staff possessing more knowledge on safe resident handling practices, Haro Park Centre now has a centralized sling and equipment system. There is now a process in place to audit slings after they are laundered to ensure labels are still reliable and the sling is still in adequate condition.

“Staff will always have the appropriate sling in the appropriate size available to safely transfer residents; slings are routinely audited for wear/tear and removed from circulation if unsafe, therefore staff will always have safe slings to work with.”

Furthermore, each resident’s equipment and sling needs are regularly assessed. A physiotherapist regularly provides transfer supervision to offer insight into the unique needs of residents in relation to transfer and handling practices.

Since undertaking the Transfer Coach program, HPC has reduced injuries by over 30% as well as improved staff morale. Kudos to Haro Park Centre for innovatively fostering a culture of safety and taking proactive steps to make a safer workplace!