Physical stressors that occur with patient and equipment handling in the OR (eg, moving or lifting patients, carrying heavy instrument sets, prolonged standing) can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders for perioperative personnel. In addition to increasing patient safety, safe patient handling and movement (SPHM) programs have been shown to reduce the risk and severity of injuries, workers’ compensation costs, and personnel fatigue and to increase health care workers’ morale and quality of life. The AORN “Guideline for safe patient handling and movement” provides guidance for implementing an SPHM program. This article discusses key takeaways from the guideline, including forming an interdisciplinary team to oversee the SPHM program, selecting safe patient handling technologies and equipment, and assessing the unique needs of each patient to develop an individualized plan for SPHM. Perioperative RNs should review the complete guideline for additional information and for guidance when writing and updating policies and procedures.
Key words: ergonomic tools, lifting, positioning, patient handling, movement.