Volume 3, Number 12
Researchers from the Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago have recently published a series of studies comparing different methods for performing lateral transfers and transporting patients down stairs. A summary of the methods and results are presented below.
Note: Each experiment was conducted with eleven, two-person teams of firefighters/paramedics from Chicago’s suburbs. In place of an actual patient, a 75-kg (165-lb) dummy was used.
EMS runs can begin with and almost always end with a lateral transfer: from the patient’s bed to a stretcher and from the stretcher to a hospital gurney. In this study, a variety of transfer methods were evaluated and compared to completing the transfer by lifting a patient using a bed sheet only.
The researchers concluded that using a single collapsible rod in combination with a plastic bridgeboard would have the greatest effect.
Once the patient is placed on a stretcher, EMS workers may have to transport patients down stairs. In this study, a variety of interventions were evaluated and compared to transporting patients down stairs on a traditional backboard.
The researchers concluded that the additional footstrap is easily implemented with commonly available EMS materials and adds little time to the current process of securing the patient. The researchers also concluded that the DCS and backboard wheeler would be even more beneficial to reducing back injuries, by transforming the carrying task into a pushing and pulling task.
Lavender, S., Conrad, K., et al, 2007. Designing ergonomic interventions for EMS workers. Applied Ergonomics 38 (1), 71-81. Applied Ergonomics 38 (2), 227-236. Applied Ergonomics 38 (5), 581-589.
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