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UB opens lab to teach safe patient handling

By Andrew Polino

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-903466.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The University at Buffalo is opening a lab and training center for safe patient handling.

Until now, nurses and other health care workers have had to move and reposition patients by physically lifting them. UB's new Safe Patient Handling lab will teach them and students planning a career in health care to move patients with mechanical equipment.

Roger Cook, the director of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health says that manually lifting patients causes health care workers to suffer more debilitating injuries than workers in any other profession.

"Even if you use proper body mechanics, a patient is just too unpredictable," Cook said. "The caregiver is often forced to lift 200 or 250 pounds of weight. We're trying to get manual lifting out of the health profession."

Some health care providers are already using the new safe patient handling methods. Kaleida Health invested in the new equipment and training, and it has lowered injuries by over 70 percent. It has also saved millions in worker's compensation.

Click the audio player above to hear Andrew Polino's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.