United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Sunshine Healthcare Network

Safe Patient Handling and Movement

VISN 8 Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, Tampa

Key Objective

To develop and test innovations and decrease risk related to patient handling and movement.

Our Center has developed many tools and templates that are available to you to adapt for use in your program. Please email Valerie Kelleher at Valerie.Kelleher@va.gov to request any of the titles listed below. To download the titles you can click here.

We also work closely with the Tampa VA Research and Education Foundation to supply cutting-edge conferences on Patient Safety. Click here to go to our conferences page.


Safe Patient Handling Program and Facility Design: Directive 2010-032

Safe Patient Handling Nursing School Curriculum Module

NIOSH Publication 2009-127 Safe Patient Handling and Movement Web-Based Training

Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide

Safe Patient Handling Guidebook for Facility Champions/Coordinators

Safe Patient Handling Unit Binder for Peer Leaders & Staff

Algorithms for Safe Patient Handling and Movement

Bariatrics Toolkit

Slings Toolkit

Technology Resource Guide

No Lift Policy Draft

Restraint Policy Draft

Facility Safe Patient Handling Policy Draft

Safety Huddle

Communication Strategies/Presentations

Safe Patient Handling Bibliography

Safe Patient Handling in Inpatient Psychiatry

The area of inpatient psychiatry presents unique challenges to organizations seeking to implement a safe patient handling (SPH) program. With existing equipment such as ceiling-mounted lifts providing opportunities for patients to harm themselves or others, and floor-based or sit-to-stand lifts proving incompatible with the platform beds present in psychiatric units, maintaining a work environment that reduces the caregiver's risk of back and other musculoskeletal injury is difficult. Following a literature search and review on the subject of safe patient handling and psychiatry, a review of environmental design guidelines for inpatient psychiatric units, discussions with clinical staff and experts in this field, and a review of existing patient handling equipment specifically made to be used in a psychiatric unit, it was determined that there were two key areas of equipment development that would be required to meet the safe patient handling needs of this type of unit in and around the immediate vicinity of the patient's bed area. This report highlights the process by which a list of criteria was developed for the design of a height adjustable platform bed that meets the design guidelines for psychiatric units, and a list of criteria that articulates changes that could be made to existing SPH equipment design to meet the needs of this patient group and be compatible with the platform beds used in inpatient psychiatric units.