Safe Patient Handling when transporting patients

Much has been written about the safe patient handling which requires direct patient contact, for example a patient transfer, but less so about the handling risks associated with patient transportation.

The Manual Handling of People in the Healthcare Sector defines Patient Handling as "any activity requiring force to push, pull, lift, lower, transfer or in some way move or support a person or body part".1

Transporting patients in beds throughout hospitals meets this definition and can also be considered as an ergonomically high-risk patient handling task. It has been measured as one of the top patient handling tasks that result in complaints of musculoskeletal pain.2

In their research, Blay et al, 2017, found that a patient was moved, on average, 2.4 times during their stay. Transfers between clinical units took an average of 42 minutes and within the unit, 11 minutes. Nurses at the site spent over 1,700 hours each month transporting patients and activities related to this task, resulting in less time to care for patients.3

To reduce the excessive ergonomic effort, risk of injury and improve operational efficiencies when transporting patients, adaptations have been made to standard beds by adding centrally placed fifth wheels.

Improvements such as a 5th wheel design can be perceived as improvements which support increased caregiver productivity during patient transportation tasks within a patient room and when moving down a corridor.4

At Arjo, we believe the right solution should ensure that caregivers and transport professionals have enough time and energy left for the job that matters most: caring for patients.
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1. ISO/TR 12296:2012
2. Paul, G. & Quintero-Duran, M. Ergonomic assessment of hospital bed moving using DHM Siemens JACK. Proceedings 19th Triennial Congress of the IEA, Melbourne 9-14 August 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2018 from
3. Blay N, Roche MA, Duffield C, Gallagher R. Intrahospital transfers and the impact on nursing workload. J Clin Nurs. 2017;26:4822–4829. Retrieved February 11, 2018 from
4. Kim, S., Barker, L.M., Jia, B., Agnew, M.J., Nussbaum, M.A. Effects of two hospital bed design features on physical demands and usability during brake engagement and patient transportation: a repeated measures experimental study. Int J Nurs Stud. 2009 Mar;46(3):317-25.