Speak up to prevent injury

December 20, 2017 | News

Melody Bi is a licensed practical nurse, and for the past three years has been a nurse supervisor with the Greater Vancouver Community Services Society, which is one of the largest community care service providers. The organization cares for 4,000 people each year, including the elderly and individuals with disabilities and those who require support to retain or regain their health and independence.

When SafeCare BC announced a two-day pilot course on Safe Client Handling, Bi jumped at the opportunity. “The course was very good,” she says. “We were taught some great tools that will help us, including point of care assessment and mobility decision support.”

The pilot allows SafeCare BC to test out the course content, and make modifications based on the sector’s needs. The Safe Client Handling training is designed for peer coaching, which means participants will take their learnings and share with others in their organization. “We have geared this training specifically to home and community care,” says Mavis Gibson, SafeCare BC’s Acting Director, Workplace Health and Safety. “And we are confident it will increase the awareness of how injuries can occur, and lead to a reduction in these injuries.”

The challenge, according to Bi, is that some home care staff lack the awareness of the importance of reporting safety issues or changes in a client’s mobility, or they are afraid of damaging relationships with their clients.

Bi cited one example, where a worker was manually lifting a client, rather than having an assessment done to determine if there were options for safe handling equipment for the client’s home. The worker did sustain an injury, and subsequently an occupational therapist assessed the client and equipment was provided.

“Any injury to our staff is concerning, because not only is there an impact to the worker and their family, but it impacts our operations from a staffing perspective and means clients have to get used to different people,” says Bi. “I’m looking forward to taking what I have learned and sharing these strategies with my staff.”

This is the third in a four-part series on safe handling. Check out the other articles:

  • Lee Frederick, of Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge, shares why he is passionate about Safe Resident Handling.
  • Richmond’s Rosewood Manor invests in Safe Handling experts

Check out our Safe Handling Toolkit.