Whether you are an individual taking care of a loved one or a hired caregiver you are most prone to sustaining an injury when moving the individual in / out of bed or a wheelchair. Your chances of injury are multiplied if you are in a hurry or working by yourself.
In 2010 and 2011 injuries in “Health Care and Social Assistance” accounted for nearly one in five (20%) of the reported injuries sustained in private industry. This number only accounts for work related incidents. An injured family member is not likely to file a workers compensation claim so this number must be lower than the actual number of injuries experienced while taking care of an individual. In 2010 individuals providing health care in the workplace had a 6% increase in workers compensation incidences. Back and shoulder disorders increased 10% for nurses aides, orderlies and attendants. Fortunately these numbers decreased in 2011 primarily to changes instituted in hospitals. In 2011 sprains, strains and tears accounted for 38% of the total cases requiring days away from work in all areas. Of these, 22% were due to lifting or lowering.
Here’s some tips to help prevent caregiver injuries:
- Let the equipment, not your back, do the lifting.
- Don’t rush. Think through what and how you’re lifting.
- Learn and educate yourself on the proper lifting techniques.
- Find a good chiropractor 🙂
If you are the sole caregiver for your loved one or just helping out it is extremely critical for you to remain healthy. If you injure your back, neck or shoulder and are no longer able to provide the care you were providing, what is going to happen to the individual you were providing care for? Will they be able to remain at home? Will their level of care be sufficient? Will they or you be able to afford extended outside care? These are all questions that need to be asked.
The cost of acquiring quality health care equipment or its rental is not inexpensive but that cost must be weighed against the cost of an injury, time away from work, and the added burden and worry placed on the one that is receiving care.
All of us at Associated Partners in Healthcare are dedicated to maintaining your quality of life. Statistics are just cold numbers until you become one of those numbers. Don’t become a statistic.