Touring Taiwan’s medical technology sector, we had a chance to visit the Chinese Safe Patient Handling & Movement Association (CSPHA), hosted in the offices of Glorious Union Medtech Corp. in Taipei City. CSPHA is driven by the singular goal of preventing injuries among clinical staff when moving patients inside homes, hospitals, and clinics. One of the factors for the problem is that nurses tend to be women, often not having the physical stature to help patients in and out of bed, and back injuries tend to be common occurrence.
CSPHA has been fighting injuries for the last four years by promoting the use of assistive devices and establishing a “No-Lift Policy” in Taiwanese healthcare facilities. They have established a certification process and have 20 institutions already on board and regularly host seminars, classes, and workshops aimed at preventing injury to caregivers. The certified organizations must have appropriate policies in place, have to have the necessary equipment on hand, and the staff must receive training on its use. The organizations are also expected to innovate their methods and track their workers’ actions.
CSPHA also hosts meetings with international professionals and organizations to learn from them and to spread their own knowledge around the world.
In the showroom the organization has dozens of different devices that help move sick and disabled people, including for use during emergencies such as fires.
One of the main tenets of protecting the caretaker’s back when helping patients is to focus on using horizontal versus vertical transfer methods. To help that happen there are a variety of slippery sliding mats, slip boards, and rotating surfaces that help get patients in and out of beds. There also belts that can be put on patients with handles that promote proper posture and offer a good grip on the person being moved. The representatives of CSPHA actually demonstrated to us a number of these and let us try using some of the devices.
These included stair climbing wheelchairs and slippery wraps that can be used to drag patients down stairs when patients need to be evacuated. There were also things like mats that are slippery one way but not the other, helping to keep patients from sliding down in wheelchairs and beds.
The overall impression we got is that there are a lot of cheap products that very cleverly make it easy to move, shift, and rotate patients in different ways. The important aspect is choosing the correct device and using it properly, which in turn requires appropriate training and having policies in place.
We were pleasantly surprised by the importance the ladies at CSPHA give to their goal of reducing injuries to clinical staff. Heavy patients are not fun to deal with without proper equipment and exhausted staff doesn’t perform at it’s finest throughout the day. We wish much luck to the CSPHA in promoting their efforts and hope that clinical organizations around the world join them.