From left: Holly Ames, RN; Tiffany Romine, CAN (on Maxi-Air device); Emily Rath, RN; and Danielle Warner, RN, demonstrate the new Maxi-Air device at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial on Thursday. The Maxi-Air is one of several new devices being implemented at Gerber Memorial to further strengthen and improve the hospital’s commitment to patient care.
Gerber Memorial steps up commitment to patient, employee safety with high-tech devices
FREMONT– On any given day in the recent past, Tiffany Romine, CNA, would have to grab two or three colleagues to help her move an adult patient from a stretcher to a hospital bed at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.
All that is changing.
Thanks to a fleet of new devices that deploy high-tech ergonomic technology, every time Tiffany moves a patient from one place to another, she’s moving virtually zero pounds. For the patient on the stretcher, a device called the Maxi-Air inflates under the body and floats from one location to another, helping the patient get from stretcher to bed without any friction. And because the Maxi-Air can move with the gentle push of a finger, staff members like Tiffany significantly reduce their risk of injuries.
“For a small rural hospital like Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial to make this investment in tools and techniques that can significantly benefit our patients and staff shows how much importance we place on the health and safety of the people we serve and our employees,” said Tiffany. “I can do my job efficiently and safely, and I get to focus on my patients’ needs, their dignity and their comfort.”
The initiative is part of Gerber Memorial’s initiative featuring new equipment and new methods to further improve safety at Gerber Memorial, by helping employees move patients with minimal effort.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is excited to make this critical investment in the safety and comfort of our patients, while also recognizing the work our staff does every day,” said Gerber Memorial Chief Operating Officer Shelly Johnson. “Our program recognizes what our employees do every day, providing them with a safety solution that also meets the needs of our patients.”
According to the most recent data, Gerber Memorial employees lift the equivalent of about 3,500 pounds of patient every day, similar to the weight of a midsize car.
Nurses and nursing aides are among occupational groups most at risk of injury, particularly for musculoskeletal disorders, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nearly 70 percent of all nursing injuries are due to back complications from lifting patients. In the past five years, 64 Gerber Memorial staff have been injured while handling patients, resulting in 876 lost work days, 638 restricted work days, over $153,000 in direct worker compensation costs and total costs estimating to up to $1.6 million, said Lauren Miedema, Gerber Memorial safety specialist.
“This program represents a big step forward for employee and patient safety at Spectrum Health,” Miedema said. “Gerber Memorial and our staff are thrilled that we can lead the way within Spectrum Health to keep patients and staff safe and healthy. More and more new patients and staff now expect safe patient handling programs, and this is one way we can demonstrate our commitment to quality care for patients and a safe work environment for our employees.”
In addition to the Maxi-Air, which facilitates lateral transfers of up to 1,200 pounds, Gerber Memorial is also now using devices that include:
The equipment is being used primarily in the ICU, medical surgery, emergency, OB/GYN, surgery, rehab, radiology and oncology departments.