The importance of Moving and Handling training

Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

Each person’s care needs are unique to that individual and can be as different as a person’s personality, with requirements differing even between two people with the same condition. This is where the importance of moving and handling training in care comes in when handling people and objects.

Some patients require assistance with even the most basic aspects of their care, including help with moving and handling their body on a day to day basis. Patients with diseases which severely restrict their mobility, such as Huntington’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy or Myasthenia Gravis, can have radically different needs depending on their circumstances. They may require differing approaches to care.

What we covered

What is Moving and Handling?

Moving and handling refers to the safe techniques and procedures used for lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and generally moving objects or people.

What is Moving and Handling definition

Some key points about moving and handling:

  • It involves proper manual handling of loads to prevent injury and ensure safety.
  • Common moving and handling activities include lifting boxes, wheeling patients, sliding heavy objects, transferring disabled people, etc.
  • Training focuses on following ergonomic principles for tasks like proper lifting, using aids and equipment, working in teams, and reducing strain.
  • Key risks associated with poor moving and handling include back injuries, sprains, falls, and other occupational hazards.
  • Relevant laws and regulations outline appropriate procedures and set weight limits for safe manual handling.
  • Assessing risks, providing training, and implementing control measures are vital for mitigating hazards.
  • Specialist moving and handling skills are required in many sectors like healthcare, construction, warehouses, offices, and more.

Proper moving and handling protects wellbeing, complies with legal obligations, boosts efficiency, and demonstrates duty of care. Effective training is crucial for developing the right knowledge, attitude and practices.

What is Moving and Handling Training?

Moving and handling training teaches proper techniques for lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and moving loads or people in a safe manner.

The goal is to give employees expertise in moving loads and people safely, efficiently, and without injury. It is an essential part of health and safety compliance in many organisations.

What is moving and handling training? M&H is defined here

Moving and handling training is a must for carers who regularly help people with restricted movement, including those who require the use of specialist equipment in order to go about their day to day lives. This may be due to a disease or infirmity that limits their mobility.

Training isn’t just for the benefit of the patient. Looking after patients with restricted mobility is a difficult and strenuous profession. Healthcare staff can cause themselves permanent injury if proper protocols for lifting and the use of equipment such as hoists are not followed.

Important components of training in moving and handling often encompass:

  • Manual handling risk assessment – Identifying hazards and how to minimise risk.
  • Ergonomics – Understanding how the body moves and principles for reducing strain.
  • Lifting methods – Correct lifting procedures using legs while keeping back straight.
  • Carrying loads – Maintaining stability and balancing weight distribution.
  • Pushing and pulling – Using body position, not just force, for effective momentum.
  • Assistive devices – Proper use of lifts, slides, wheelchairs and other equipment.
  • Team handling – Communicating and coordinating to share weight and move together.
  • Use of PPE – Wearing gloves, supportive belts, covered shoes to prevent injury.
  • Environment – Assessing surroundings for trip/fall hazards.
  • Weight limits – Following recommended safe weight amounts for lifting.
  • Skills practice – Hands-on exercises to develop techniques.

Health and Safety at work guidelines aim to minimise the harm to healthcare staff. Training in how to avoid harm on a day to day basis can be extremely beneficial, also for insurance purposes. It can also help meet the healthcare industry’s compliance requirements.

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What Will I Learn in a Moving and Handling Course?

A training course on the Moving and Handling of People involves the theory and practice of handling, which includes every step you should take when planning to move a person during the course of their care.

This covers important areas around the carer’s own health and how it relates to moving and handling. For example, there is a potential for back injury as well as injury to other parts of the body from improper techniques.

Legislation regarding moving and handling is also an important part of the course, particularly in terms of how it relates to your responsibilities in the workplace and your employer’s duties to provide safe working conditions.

For employers, this can mean huge compliance-related benefits. Following moving and handling regulations demonstrates a firm commitment to the well-being of both staff and patients.

The second, and perhaps most important, area of knowledge is in relation to the practicalities of moving and handling. Since manual handling can be difficult and hazardous, learning techniques can greatly increase the effectiveness and safety of a caregiver’s work. This includes different handling techniques, kinetic principles, posture, lowering, pushing and pulling methods.

Attention is also given to the use of equipment in handling, including lifts, hoists, back boards, and side boards. All of these are standard in the industry and can make moving and handling patients much easier and safer.

Moving and Handling done by a female nurse to a female elder patient

What Are the Benefits of Moving and Handling Training?

This training has a large impact on the care receiver’s quality of care and quality of life. An important part of caring for patients with limited mobility is helping them be as self-reliant and independent as possible. This is also an important focus of the training provided to healthcare staff who work with such patients.

Assessing what patients can and cannot do for themselves is essential. Carers must be able to step in when necessary and know when to step back when a patient can manage. Psychologically this can make a great difference to a patient receiving care, as it helps build confidence and independence that is difficult to maintain in their everyday lives.

This element of training involves learning about the process of assessing a patient, including evaluating both long-term and day-to-day abilities as well as the risks involved in particular activities. Identifying hazards and managing risk is an essential part of the training for caregivers. In the workplace, risk assessments are necessary to ensure caregiver compliance with insurance requirements and to guarantee the safety of both staff and patients.

By learning these skills, caregivers can confidently work with patients, moving and handling them in ways that are backed by legislation, industry best practices and that meet the person’s individual needs. While it may seem straightforward, adequate and ongoing moving and handling training is vital for health and safety as well as enhancing patients’ quality of life.

Join our Practical Moving and Handling Training to master safe lifting techniques. Enroll now and learn to protect yourself and those you care for.

Moving and Handling Course Curriculum

A comprehensive moving and handling course curriculum will cover:

– Relevant Legislation and Regulations: Reviewing laws, mandates and guidelines pertaining to safe moving and handling including the Health and Safety at Work Act, Manual Handling Operations Regulations, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations among others.

– Principles of Safer Handling: Understanding kinetic lifting principles, levers, posture, grips, team lifting, communication, equipment use and more to prevent injury.

– Risk Assessment: Identifying hazards like obstacles, stairs, spill risks and conducting thorough risk assessments of moving and handling tasks to minimize harm. 

– Planning and Preparation: Steps like reviewing care plans, conferring with therapists, briefing staff, checking equipment, gauging patient abilities and other groundwork to enable safer handling.

– Ergonomics and Body Mechanics: Proper stance, foot placement, core activation, bent knees, tight back, alignment, etc. to utilize the body effectively and prevent strain.

– Assistive Equipment Use: Proper utilization of patient transfer aids like hoists, stand aids, slide sheets, belts, boards and training on device options, suitability, cleaning and maintenance.

– Practical Handling Techniques: Controlled wheelchairs transfers, standing hoist transfers, floor transfers, repositioning in bed, ambulant guiding, stair navigation and other techniques tailored to patient status.

– Bariatric Considerations: Specialized large patient handling needs including equipment choices, staffing, assessment and handling methods.

– Patient Comfort, Dignity and Safety: Ensuring moving and handling maximizes independence, dignity, comfort, safety and effective communication throughout.

– Skills Competency Validation: Assessing staff abilities through demonstrations of proper techniques, providing coaching and confirming safe mastery of all procedures.

The knowledge and skills gained through this robust curriculum empowers staff to handle patients thoughtfully while protecting their own bodies as well.

Moving and Handling Regulations

Key regulations relating to moving and handling include:

– Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – Requires employers provide whatever training is needed to ensure worker safety.

– Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – Requires risk assessments of manual handling activities and processes to reduce risk.

– Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – Covers specific manual handling procedures and the requirement for staff training.

– Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – Mandates proper training in lifting equipment like hoists as well as ensuring such equipment is properly maintained.

– Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – Specifies employers must provide adequate training for all work equipment used by staff which includes moving and handling aids.

Meeting these regulations means providing comprehensive moving and handling education on both proper techniques as well as use of handling equipment. Regular refreshers and competency assessments must also occur to maintain safe practices. This training is not just wise for organizations but required by law and critical for safe, compliant care.

Special Populations and Considerations

While moving and handling training provides the foundation, adapting practices to particular populations warrants added focus:

Bariatric Patients – Bariatric patients require extensive pre-planning and use of rated equipment for safe handling. Staff numbers, positioning, equipment capacity and assessment of handling surfaces require consideration.

Children – Child development factors inform proper techniques for their age like keeping transfers smooth to avoid startling. Toys or songs may help ease procedures.

Cognitively Impaired – Communication, reassurance and redirection is crucial. Schedules and routines aid cooperation. Cues and reminders promote independence.

Agitated Patients – Remaining calm and avoiding force is important. Palliative patients may require compassionate handling to avoid suffering.

Customized approaches and additional training for special populations helps ensure needs are served safely and with dignity. This values-driven care culture stems from comprehensive moving and handling education.

Fundamentals of Safe Moving and Handling in Healthcare

For healthcare staff, moving and handling patients is a routine yet crucial part of providing care. It may seem simple, but improper technique can lead to devastating injury for both caregivers and patients. That’s why adhering to fundamental safe moving and handling principles is so important. Let’s examine some core concepts every healthcare worker should know.

1. Use Your Legs, Not Your Back

Lifting and moving patients almost always involves your back to some degree. But over-reliance on the back for handling tasks leads to strain and cumulative damage over time. The key is to activate the powerful muscles of the legs – your glutes, quads and hamstrings.

Bend your knees and squat down rather than bending forward at the waist. Keep your chest lifted and core engaged. Pushing up with your legs protects your back while generating more force to lift or transfer patients properly. Your back should remain in neutral alignment without twisting or over-arching.

2. Get Close

Many injuries occur when handlers have to reach or extend to move patients. This adds torque, tension and excessive load on the back. The fix? Get as close as possible to the patient before any transfer or repositioning maneuver.

With wheelchairs, slide your feet under the chair and fully face the patient. For beds, bring the patient close to the edge and snugly align your body with theirs before turning or sitting them up. Eliminate distance and avoid over-extension by hugging close to your center of gravity.

3. Use A Wide Base

Widening your base of support gives you a solid, balanced foundation for moving patients. Separate your feet to shoulder width with one foot slightly staggered ahead of the other. This stable stance keeps your bodyweight centered and leverages your strongest leg muscles.

Angles matter too – turn your feet out 15 degrees and point toes where you want to move. Subtle foot adjustments make handling easier on the back and knees.

4. Communicate & Coordinate

Moving together as a coordinated team vastly multiplies your collective strength and control. Yet oftentimes, handlers end up working against each other, straining to compensate for lack of synergy.

Designate roles, synchronize timing and maintain continual verbal communication. Confirm you’re ready to proceed in unison before starting any maneuver. Guide the patient through each step. Clear commands allow smooth choreographed movement essential for safety.

5. Think Before You Lift

Many handling injuries arise from lack of planning and awareness. Before any manual lift, thoroughly assess the situation – the patient’s status, your route, positioning, available help and equipment. Identify any hazards or obstacles. Know your limitations and don’t attempt overly risky lifting situations.

Take time to prepare your body as well – warm up your muscles prior to strenuous lifts to avoid pulled muscles. Proper planning and preparation prevents poor moving performance.

Moving patients seems simple but in truth requires care, technique and teamwork. Adhering to safe lifting principles benefits staff and patients alike. Make these fundamentals second nature through frequent reminders, training and mentoring. Safe handling protects healthcare bodies!

moving elderly people

Implementing a Moving and Handling Program

To reap the full benefits of training, organizations need a holistic program incorporating:

– Securing management commitment and resources to provide ongoing education.

– Conducting a needs assessment like observing current practices, surveying staff and reviewing incident data to inform the curriculum.

– Developing a tailored curriculum covering knowledge, regulations, risk assessment, equipment use, techniques and specialty topics like bariatrics based on the needs assessment.

– Scheduling regular refreshers such as annual skills reviews to reinforce safe practices.

– Purchasing needed equipment like floor hoists, transfer belts, boards and other aids to facilitate safer handling.

– Creating mentors and champions to model proper techniques and coach peers.

– Reviewing all incidents related to moving and handling to address gaps and improve the program.

With involvement across the organization and proper implementation, moving and handling training reaches its full injury-reducing, care-enhancing potential for both staff and patients.

How Moving and Handling Training Can Transform Care

Moving and handling may seem routine to healthcare providers, but truly mastering safe, dignified handling techniques requires specialized instruction and practice. Just as clinical skills demand training, so too does moving patients in a way that avoids injury and discomfort.

Moving and handling education prepares staff to navigate even the most complex handling scenarios with competence and confidence. Beyond fulfilling legal mandates, it represents an investment in the long-term health and safety of both caregivers and patients.

Administrators should view moving and handling training not as an added expense but rather a strategic initiative that pays dividends in injury reduction, compliance, enhanced care and employee retention. Healthcare workers gain assurance they are equipped with the tools and knowledge to safely meet patient needs while protecting their own bodies over long careers.

Most importantly, patients are the ultimate winners. Quality moving and handling allows maintenance of independence, dignity and comfort along with reduced risk of falls or mishaps. By committing to comprehensive education and training programs, organizations demonstrate that staff and patient welfare is a top priority now and into the future.

Crucial Importance of Consistent and High Quality Moving and Handling Training in Healthcare

Healthcare workers suffer from one of the highest rates of workplace injuries, with nursing assistants and orderlies incurring 8.6 serious injuries per 100 full-time workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The leading cause? Improper moving and handling of patients. Clearly, ongoing moving and handling training is imperative for healthcare organisations seeking to protect their staff. But safe patient handling benefits more than just employees. With sound moving principles, patients can avoid discomfort, loss of dignity and injuries from falls and improper mobilization too.

Just as clinical skills require refreshing and updating, so too do moving and handling competencies, even for veteran staff. Complacency in techniques can lead to mistakes and strain. This blog will explore why consistent, high quality moving and handling education helps cultivate a culture of safety and care for all.

Reason #1: Prevent Staff Injuries

Healthcare workers are at high risk for back, neck and shoulder injuries from repetitive tasks like lifting patients and bending to make beds. In fact, nursing assistants have the highest incidence of musculoskeletal disorders among all occupations according to OSHA.

Proper body mechanics and team lifting principles are key to preventing strain. Yet many staff lack the fundamentals, relying on their backs to move patients or hoisting too far away from the body – behaviors ingrained over years of bad habits.

Ongoing education through demonstrations, practice and reminders during clinical care instills the muscle memory to move safely. Training covers core concepts like:

  • Base of support – feet shoulder width apart provides stability
  • Core engagement – tighten abdominal muscles for spine support
  • Wide stance – greater power when leaning forward comes from wide foot placement
  • Bent knees – maintains center of gravity and allows use of quads and glutes
  • Tight back – avoids hyper extending the back while lifting
  • Head alignment – look straight ahead, chin tucked as added spinal protection

With quality guidance and ample time to refine techniques, staff adopt the mechanics to lift and pivot patients without injury. Annual refreshers reinforce proper principles. Leaders can’t just hang posters reminding staff to lift with their legs – such platitudes require transformation into trained skills.

Reason #2: Protect Patients from Harm

Moving and handling mishaps threaten not just caregivers, but patients too. Transferring too quickly or with jerking motions causes discomfort. Improper positioning in bed or wheelchairs leads to dangerous pressure sores.

Drops and falls during lifts or ambulation can cause severe fractures. And the use of restraints when mobility aids would better serve steals independence and dignity.

Proper moving and handling puts the patient first. Training enables staff to:

  • Communicate reassurance and instructions when moving or turning a patient
  • Apply gentle, steady technique without force or speed
  • Avoid dragging patients up the bed or pulling on limbs
  • Secure devices and attachments to avoid equipment issues
  • Take time to ensure correct patient positioning
  • Lift according to clinical needs like weaknesses or contractures

When healthcare staff have the tools to handle patients thoughtfully, medical harm events plummet. Patients feel respected, comfortable and secure.

Reason #3: Develop Key Competencies

Moving patients relies not just on muscle, but on clinical competencies – assessing mobility, discerning appropriate techniques, choosing suitable devices, collaborating with therapists and much more. Moving and handling education develops these skills through:

  • Mobility assessments – gauge strengths, balance, cognition, past history
  • Care plan review – special needs, limitations and equipment 
  • Patient handling recommendations – therapist input and updates 
  • Demonstrations – practice proper principles and methods
  • Peer mentoring – learn from coworkers during care activities
  • Video reviews – identify errors to correct as a team
  • Simulations – gain experience through role play scenarios
  • Skills validations – ensure proper mastery of techniques

These modalities ingrain critical thinking on top of rote procedures. Setting staff up for success requires a multidimensional training approach over time, not just a one-off lecture.

Reason #4: Promote Use of Mobility Aids 

While lifts like Hoyers reduce heavy manual lifting, mobility aids also prevent handling injuries during transfers and walking.

However, time constraints lead staff to eschew devices in favor of risky manual maneuvering. Refresher courses reinforce the purpose and proper use of aids like:

  • Walkers – improve stability and redistribute weight
  • Canes – transfer load to arm during weak leg ambulation
  • Gait belts – assist balance with patient leaning as needed
  • Transfer boards – smoothly slide patient minimizing lifting
  • Transfer poles – allow patient to move themselves with support

Practical demonstrations boost staff capabilities and confidence to leverage these tools. Versatile options exist beyond just wheelchairs – exploring available equipment through training prevents reliance on manual handling.

Reason #5: Refresh and Update Skills 

Moving and handling competencies decay over time without practice. Staff cut corners on principles they vaguely recall from past training. To counter the natural drift towards bad habits, regular refresher courses every 1-2 years reassure safe practices. Bite-sized lunch sessions, e-learning modules or back to basics workshops all keep skills fresh through:

  • Quick equipment demonstrations – e.g. proper transfer belt fitting
  • Video-based reminders – highlight specific techniques
  • Return demonstrations – observe and provide feedback
  • Skills validations – verify abilities and correct gaps
  • Peer audits – cross-monitor proper performance
  • Annual competency – reinforce key learning

Even highly experienced staff gain safety reminders and fine tune skills during refreshers. They also provide continuing education credits to maintain licensure requirements. 

Reason #6: Adhere to Regulations

In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act mandates employers provide whatever training is needed to ensure worker safety. Specific regulations like the Manual Handling Operations Regulations spell out required manual handling education.

Organisations failing to comply face sanctions and lawsuits after avoidable staff injuries.

Within healthcare, regulatory and accrediting bodies like the CQC and NHS Litigation Authority impose safe patient handling standards, including:

  • Core skills training incorporation
  • Annual refreshers
  • Competency assessments
  • Ward based mentors and champions
  • Equipment investments like lifts and slide sheets
  • Incident review processes 

By making moving and handling training mandatory, regulators recognize it as foundational to broader quality and safety aims.

Reason #7: Reduce Costs

At first glance, training seems like an added business expense. But improper moving and handling practices impose tremendous costs from:

  • Staff replacement – turnover after injuries
  • Overtime – covering absent hurt workers
  • Lost productivity – light duty and rest periods
  • Liability premiums – riskier practices mean higher rates
  • Lawsuits – failure to train provides grounds when staff get injured
  • Workers compensation – injury claims rack up over years
  • Patient falls – leading source of healthcare facility lawsuits

A business case helps demonstrate that an investment in training reduces long-term costs by curbing avoidable strains, drops and accidents. One study found a 3-year safe patient handling program yielded a 600% return on investment from injury reduction savings.

7 reasons for consistent and high quality moving and handling training

Why Choose Caring for Care for Your Training Needs?

Caring for Care is a national healthcare training provider based in the UK. As practicing healthcare workers ourselves, we understand the daily pressures, stresses and strains on healthcare staff across roles and settings.

That means we are able to deliver tailored clinical training courses that meet the real-world needs of working doctors, nurses and clinical staff. Our catalog includes moving and handling training as well as specialized offerings like catheterization and complex care.

We aim to be as flexible as possible to work within your constraints, whether delivering on-site or providing virtual sessions. Our trainers schedule teaching hours with efficiency in mind, working around the realities of understaffing and budget pressures. Y

ou receive the maximum value within the minimal amount of time away from patient care duties.

With our specialized healthcare training solutions, your staff gain the most up-to-date knowledge and competencies to enrich care and elevate quality of life for the individuals you serve.

We handle the training so you can focus on the reason you entered this noble field – helping others through meaningful care and human connection.

To learn more, explore our website or call 01782 563333 to discover how our training solutions can make a positive difference within your organization. We look forward to partnering with you.

Together, we can empower your staff to take patient care to the next level through education. This ultimately benefits some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society – a contribution that makes a career in healthcare so rewarding and impactful for so many.

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Get hands-on with our Practical Moving and Handling Training. Enroll today to gain essential skills in safe lifting and handling techniques. Equip yourself with the knowledge to protect both your well-being and those you care for.

In Summary

Moving and handling training provides a clear return – both for staff and patients alike. It not only satisfies legal mandates, but fosters superior care delivery.

Skills gained translate into daily staff workflows, guiding safer decision making and body mechanics. As fluency takes repeated practice, ongoing refreshers and continuing education maintain peak performance and prevent complacency.

Training works best when organisational leaders provide adequate time, equipment and resources to enable sound practices.

With investment in robust education programs and a culture valuing safety, staff gain the tools to care for patients and themselves with reduced risk of harm. That’s an outcome well worth the investment.

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