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Patient Manual Handling

Patient Manual handling

Table of Contents

Sharon McCulloch

In our day-to-day lives, we are continually required to perform manual handling tasks such as carrying and raising children, loading and unloading washing machines and dryers, making bedrooms, stacking dishes away, trying to lift shopping bags, sweeping, mopping, or cleaning the house, moving furniture, cutting the grass, washing the vehicle, and the list goes on and on.

Patient manual handling refers to the moving or transferring of persons by healthcare workers. It can include moving patients in bed, transferring patients between a chair and a bed, utilizing lifting equipment to transfer a patient, using walk belts to aid patients in walking, sitting and standing, getting patients in and out of cars, rolling clients in bed, pushing wheelchairs, or showering and bathing patients.

Sprains and strains were the most common kinds of injuries that people got from poor manual handling. Employees who work in care homes for the elderly are most likely to get musculoskeletal injuries from not knowing how to use manual handling techniques and training.

Manual Handling Training

Managing manual handling risk is a systematic approach focused on constant supervision, evaluation, and modification. Manual handling training can bring healthcare workers up to speed on what they should know before receiving their manual handling certification.

Those who deal with the elderly or in residential care facilities would benefit most from the manual handling course for healthcare workers training (HLTWHS005). It was designed to adhere to the hazardous manual tasks code of practice and other applicable state or territorial laws.

Participants in the HLTWHS005 course will learn how to identify potentially hazardous manual jobs, especially in aged care facilities, devise a plan for accomplishing them safely, and use that strategy in practice.

You should contact a certified first aid provider to learn about manual handling training and courses.

But first, let’s have a better understanding of the patient-handling tasks and techniques for manual handling that are involved in the healthcare professional industry.

Patient Handling Tasks and Techniques

When moving or assisting patients, healthcare workers must thoroughly grasp the appropriate techniques and good core muscle strength. Healthcare providers receive yearly manual handling training to update their knowledge and prevent injury.

Musculoskeletal injuries are common among people who work in nursing homes or care for the elderly and don’t know how to use manual handling techniques. Nurses, caretakers, cleaners, laundry, maintenance, office, and kitchen staff have all been hurt because of manual handling risks.

But first, let’s have a better understanding of the patient-handling tasks that are involved in the healthcare professional industry.

When it comes to moving and handling patients, several different methods and safe manual handling techniques are frequently utilized. The four most common transfer procedures are as follows (and they can be used in almost any setting where individuals need to move):

1. Standing and sitting: Caregivers need to be aware of two fundamental approaches for standing and sitting techniques.

Manual handling sitting technique

Technique 1- Repositioning under direct supervision while sitting in a chair.

This method requires a chair with armrests and an appropriate height. Moving about on a chair is made easier with the help of a slide sheet.

  •  It is important that the client’s feet are flat on the floor and their knees are gently bent and folded under the chair.
  •  Maintain a 90-degree angle between their hips and knees.
  •  Have them stoop so their upper body is over their knees.
  • Get to your feet and slide as far back in your chair as you can, or
  • Once they’ve done that, they can slide back into their seat by pressing back on the armrests with their feet.
sit-to-stand technique

Technique 2- Supervised sit-to-stand.

You should only use this method if the patient can bear their weight.

  •  Have the patient place their arms on the chair’s armrests. Then have them sit straight and go to the front of the chair.
  •  Next, have the patient place both feet flat on the floor. While remaining seated, have the patient lean forward until their chin is resting on the floor or a stool and their torso is above and over the tops of their knees (‘nose over toes’).
  • If the patient needs help standing up, gently rock them back and forth and tell them to “ready, steady, stand.”
  •  Instruct the client to rock forwards gently on each word of “ready and steady.”
  • In response to the verbal cue “stand,” the client uses the nearby armrests or flat surfaces to help them stand up.

2. Shifting in bed: Before employing any strategy, there needs to be a risk assessment that considers the client’s existing mobility and any other factors that could affect the risk associated with the intended movement of the patient and the caregiver. 

If moving (or manual handling rolling a patient) in bed is required, the following are some factors to take into consideration:

  • When repositioning a client in bed, it’s best to have them stand up, walk to the side of the bed, and then climb back in.
  • Bed profiling -these beds are easily adjustable, which means less time is spent adjusting patients. Try sitting in a knee brace position. The customer may be less likely to roll off the bed.
  • Place the patient in a suitable bed to reduce the need for frequent handling.
  • To prevent the client from becoming uneasy, utilize pillows to assist and stabilize them.
  • Use the “hip hitching” technique to help the patient rise in the bed.
rolling a patient in bed

3. Lateral transfers across surfaces at the same height: The target surface must be immediately next to and perpendicular to the client’s current location to facilitate the client’s transition. Then, have the client do the following:

  • Individuals should sit with their feet on the floor and arms resting on the armrests.
  • Slide their bottom forwards, leaning forwards in the chair.
  • To do this, individuals should lean forwards until their torso is over their ankles.
  • Tell them to point their leading foot in the direction they are heading.
  • Reach across and use their leading arm to grab the far arm of the other chair.
  • Using their body weight as a lever, you should stand up, stride, or shuffle across to the second chair. They could also try standing up straight and switching to a walker if that’s more manageable.
Lateral transfers across the bed

4. Employing hoists to assist patients in feeling more at ease: healthcare workers must employ movement and handling strategies following the results of a thorough risk assessment:

  • Before each usage, the slings should be inspected for signs of wear and tear to prevent injury.
  • Verify the sling’s safe working load; this is the maximum weight the hoist can lift.
  • Verify that the due date (for sling safe working load) presented for the next maintenance check is correct. When it’s past its expiration date, throw it away.
  • Size – determine the client’s height and breadth. Make sure the sling is long enough by measuring it from the bottom of the spine. Ensure the sling’s width/girth is sufficient to surround the client’s arms for safety.
  • Record the sling size in the patient’s chart and care plan once it has been determined.
  • If the client is at risk of getting hurt, have them cross their arms over their chest.
  • In contrast, a disposable sling can be used multiple times on the same client before being thrown away.
  • Use a specialized amputee sling when transporting a person who has lost both legs above the knee.
Employing hoists to assist patients

What Are The Learning Outcomes Of The Patient Handling Tasks Course?

This course is designed for people who work in healthcare or desire to work in healthcare. It aims to give learners the knowledge, skills, and mindset they need to do Patient Handling safely.

After finishing this manual handling course, the healthcare workers will be able to:

  • Describe the risk of injuries associated with manual handling.
  • Recognize the need for physical handling tasks and the limitations of the people you care for to offer person-centred care.
  • Learn about the types of manual handling required by support workers and the injuries that frequently arise from these duties.
  • Using the guidelines provided by the WHS Act, devise plans to reduce the likelihood of injury to oneself and others.
  • Determine the extent of the injuries, notify appropriate authorities, keep detailed records, and oversee their management.
  • Avoid the possibility of musculoskeletal disorders or injury by vertebral awareness and body posture, including safe movement and foot placement.
  • Maintain ethical and legal compliance while upholding rigorous standards for patient care.
  • Learn proper body positioning and how to use transfer aids like slings and walkers to ensure the safety of both the patient and the caregiver.
  • Learn how to safely help clients who are partially or completely dependent on you by moving them from their bed to a wheelchair or car and giving them general support as needed.A patient manual handling course from a licensed first aid provider will earn you the credentials needed to work in the field.

Patient Manual Handling Equipment

Caregivers have a responsibility to ensure the safety and independence of their elderly clients by assisting them with mobility and transfers. Caretakers must learn how to operate manual handling devices to provide adequate care properly.

In addition to protecting the health of caregivers, having access to dependable manual handling equipment improves the quality of care provided to older patients. For safe and efficient patient manual handling, this equipment is essential.

There is a wide range of equipment, ranging from conventional wheelchairs to transferring equipment, that is accessible to caregivers and the patients they assist. Let us look at some manual handling patient moving devices used in aged care.

1. Sliding Sheets: Sliding sheets, often known as draw sheets, are a convenient and comfy way to transfer patients. Since these sheets are made of durable materials and can be slid in vertical and horizontal directions, patients may rest assured that they will maintain a sense of safety and comfort during transfers.

Patient transfer sheet

2. Transfer Belts: When a patient is being handled or transported, a transfer belt can help ensure the patient’s comfort and safety. These belts allow patients greater freedom of movement in a hospital or rehabilitation centre by having an anti-slip liner on the inside that grabs onto the patient’s clothing.

Patient Transfer Belt

3. Transfer Boards: Transfer boards are useful for assisting in the movement of seated patients between many different sitting postures, including wheelchairs, beds, toilets, and vehicle seats. Furthermore, they can facilitate transfers over short distances by reducing the height difference between the caregiver and the patient. Several transfer boards available are bendable, collapsible, and simple to move.

Transfer boards

4. Mobile Hoists: A mobile hoist is a piece of flexible equipment that can be moved over the floor and has wheels to make it easier to manoeuvre. Lifting a patient using one of these hoists can be accomplished with a sling or a stretcher specifically intended for use with hoists. The manual hoist on wheels is lightweight and easy to use, allowing caregivers and patients to maintain a sense of ease and security throughout the transfer process.

Patient mobile hoist

5. Ceiling Hoists: A ceiling hoist is secured to a ceiling track fixed in a permanent location. It is intended to move a patient while suspended in a sling. Ceiling hoists are devices used by caretakers and other medical personnel to raise and transfer patients within residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

Ceiling Hoists

6. Slings: A sling is a lifting device used to transport a patient while suspended in a hoist. Slings are frequently utilized in emergency medical situations. There is a large selection of slings available for manual handling. Some of the available possibilities are as follows: Disposable slings, In-situ slings, Loop slings, clip slings, standing transfer slings, and Lateral transfer slings.


7. Stretchers: The transfer stretcher enables transfers to be completed while the patient is lying down, which is particularly useful for bathing.The patient will remain comfortable throughout the time spent submerged in the water, thanks to the diagonal ends of the stretcher. Its layout makes it possible to reach all medical baths, and its width ensures that the patient is completely safe while being transferred.


8. Wheelchairs: Since it allows the patient to be transported from one place to another without causing any disruption in their comfort or care, this piece of equipment is an essential component of care facilities. In most cases, the armrests and the legrests may be removed or swung away, and a foldable steel frame provides additional resilience. While the patient is being moved, these wheelchairs support the patient’s back, legs, and arms.


The content on this website offers general insights regarding health conditions and potential treatments. It is not intended as, and should not be construed as, medical advice. If you are facing a medical emergency, dial 000 immediately and follow the guidance provided.

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