One of the most challenging elements of independent care is in moving and handling people you care for. Oftentimes the patient may be larger than the carer and immobile limbs in particular can provide a real challenge when moving the individual.

With the right training and practice, however, a carer can follow simple techniques to enable them to move the person they are caring for without difficulty and without risk of injury to either party.

Here we explore the basics of moving and handling the person that you care for and the training that is available to help you manage it.

When you may need to move someone you are caring for

There are a lot of occasions in which a carer may need to move their patient and they need to receive the necessary moving and handling training to ensure that they can do so safely at all times.

These common scenarios are key elements in moving and handling training for all caregivers:

In the bedroom:

– To get into or out of bed
– To turn over in bed for the prevention of bed sores
– To sit up in the bed

In the bathroom:

– To assist with bathing
– To assist with showering
– To assist with use of the toilet

Elsewhere in the home or care home:

– When sitting in a chair
– When standing up from a sitting position
– When walking or moving around
– When attempting to rise after a fall has occurred
– When getting in or out of a vehicle

Common carer injuries that can occur

There are a range of common injuries that can occur in carers when they are not moving and handling a patient properly and effectively. This is why it is vital that all carers are given proper moving and handling training so that both parties are able to remain free from injury. The most common injury for carers are injuries to the back and this can be very serious.

A back injury may limit the ability to offer care and can take a very long time to heal. Other common injuries include damage to the skin, shoulder and neck. Breathing problems can also occur where the weight of the patient restricts the carer’s ability to breathe.

Incorrect moving and lifting can be dangerous for both the patient and the carer, so it is essential that all staff and carers are provided with effective moving and handling training.

Essential considerations before lifting

Moving and handling training will help to inform you on when it is safe to move and handle an individual. A well trained carer will know when to ask for help rather than attempting to lift the patient on their own.

The following lifting checklist covers some of the basic and important elements of moving and handling that all carers should be aware of:

– Is the movement or handling necessary?
– Do you or the patient require help or supervision?
– Is the patient aware that they are going to be moved?
– Is the patient light enough for you to move and handle?
– Are you physically fit enough to move and handle the patient?
– How long will the movement of the patient take?
– Is the space around you clear enough for moving and handling?
– Are there any obstacles that may prevent moving and handling?
– Is your clothing and footwear appropriate for you to move and handle in?

Some core learnings that will also be covered in moving and handling training includes the following:

– The importance of never lifting above shoulder height
– The importance of keeping feet stable throughout
– The importance of a firm hold
– How to keep the weight close to the body for better control
– How to keep your back straight and your knees bent for safer lifting
– How to move and handle the patient with smooth actions.

Why proper moving and handling training matters

Moving and handling training can mean the difference between safety and injury for both the patient and the carer. Wherever care is being given independently by a carer or where care is being given by multiple carers, it is essential that moving and handling training is given to protect all parties.

If an injury occurs to a caregiver then the patient may suffer and the recovery of the carer may be a long process that keeps them from offering care and limits the ability for independent living.

Better training results in more efficient care

Another key element in effectively training carers in moving and handling is that it can make them more efficient at providing care. With better technique and better understanding of safe moving and handling, carers may be able to more effectively provide care either alone or in smaller teams.

Where four untrained carers may struggle to move an individual safely, two well trained carers will often manage this with ease. Where effective moving and handling training is provided, efficiencies of care will almost always follow.

Whether care is being given independently or with support this training can vastly improve the comfort and ability of all parties.

Why choose Caring for Care?

At Caring for Care we draw on real life experience from practicing healthcare professionals to help you to understand how to carry out care in a safe and effective manner.

As carers themselves, our trainers will also understand the limitations and will provide training that takes into account the time pressures and the unique challenges that each carer faces.

Training can be delivered at a care premises or at off-site locations to best suit the needs of the caregivers and the patients. With proper moving and handling training we can help you to ensure that everyone achieves the best possible quality of life.