Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM)
Safe patient handling and mobility involves the use of assistive devices to ensure that patients can be mobilized safely and that care providers avoid performing high-risk manual patient handling tasks. Using the devices reduces a care provider’s risk of injury and improves the safety and quality of patient care.
A Safe Lift for Providers and Patients
Safe Patient Handling and Mobility technology can make it safe for staff and patients to mobilize without injury.
SPHM technology can be used to mobilize patients easily, gently, earlier and progressively without risking injury to patients or caregivers. Using SPHM technology in early and progressive mobility programs promotes preservation of patient functional status and improves clinical outcomes. In the home,
SPHM technology can preserve independence and mobility to improve quality of life. Other important parts of the program are: ergonomic assessment of patient rooms and facilities; clinical/patient assessment algorithms to select the right equipment and number of staff for each patient handling and mobility task; unit peer leaders who function as safe patient handling experts and staff trainers; and use of safety huddles to share information between staff that will keep staff and patients safe. Facility coordinators at each site sustain the program by making sure the right technology is available, the staff is competent, and needs are met.
For health care professionals and organizations looking for VA resources: Learn more about safe patient handling and mobility programs, implementation, patient care ergonomic assessments, and patient handling and mobility technology from the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network Patient Safety Center of Inquiry and Tampa VA Research and Education Foundation.
For Veterans and families: Our Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Mobile App can show you a variety of safe patient handling and mobility options and lead you through the process of determining what is needed.
For contractors and planners: Guidelines and required ceiling lift checklists are found below. VA design and construction standards, including SPHM criteria, are found in the Office of Construction & Facilities Management Technical Information Library (TIL).
- Patient Handling (Lifting) Equipment Coverage & Space Recommendations (1.01 MB, PDF)
Guidelines for equipment used for patient-handling that addresses coverage and installation issues surrounding ceiling-mounted lifts, and coverage and storage issues surrounding ceiling-mounted lifts, and coverage and storage issues for portable/floor-based lifts
- VHA Directive 1611 - Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program (41 KB, PDF)
Provides background and policy for implementing the Safe Patient Handling Program at Veterans Health Administration facilities
- Patient Handling and Movement Assessments, 2nd Edition (2.26 MB, PDF)
Contains facility guidelines on design for SPHM and on conducting a patient handling and movement assessment from the Facilities Guidelines Institute
- VHA Installation and Relocation Checklist for Ceiling Mounted Patient Lifts (152 KB, PDF)
Required checklist for every installation or relocation of a ceiling mounted patient lift in VHA facilities, from National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) Patient Safety Alert AL14-07
- VHA Corrective and Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Ceiling Mounted Patient Lifts (124 KB, PDF)
Required checklist for every preventive maintenance or significant corrective maintenance of a ceiling mounted patient lift in VHA facilities, from NCPS Patient Safety Alert AL14-07
- Internal resources are available through VHA Healthcare Environment and Facilities Programs including Guidebooks on Safe Patient Handling and Mobility and on Bariatric Safe Patient Handling and Mobility.
For questions about VA Safe Patient Handling and Mobility, you may contact VHASPHM@va.gov.
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