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Across-the-board savings with resident lifts

April 1, 2009
by root
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Interview with Allison Salopeck, chief operating officer and administrator, Jennings Center for Older Adults, Garfield Hts., Ohio

Savings-not only in insurance and worker's compensation dollars, but in reduced problems for residents and staff-accrued in a major way with the advent of a modern safe-lifting program at Garfield Hts., Ohio's, 156-bed Jennings Hall at Jennings Center for Older Adults. With a combination of staff training, new lift equipment (including ceiling lifts and electric beds), local foundation support, and academic research involvement, the program has seen several major “payoffs” in less than three years, including major reductions in injuries of all types (tables 1, 2) and costs related to those injuries (table 3). Along the way, the participants learned much about how new technology, used appropriately by an educated and committed staff, can positively impact resident care. Recently, Jennings' Chief Operating Officer and Administrator Allison Salopeck explained this success in an interview with Long-Term Living Editor-in-Chief Richard L. Peck.

SMP perceived impact on healthcare worker injuries

Time 1

Time 2

Reduction Rate

Resident Activity That Resulted in Injury

lLifting or transferring

16

4

75%

Type of Injury

Back strain

15

3

80%

Sprain

1

1

0%

Bruise

1

0

100%

The number of times in a month healthcare workers felt lifting or transferring a resident was “too much.”

11

3

73%

Employee Incident Reports

Time 1

Time 2

Reduction Rate

# of Employee “Injuries” Incident Reports

6

2

67%

# of Lost Work Days

389

4

99%

Reduction in cost related to healthcare worker injury

Time 1

Time 2

Reduction Rate

Paid claims (including reserves) related to lifting and transferring

$217,951

$14,705

93%

% of all paid claims (including reserves) related to lifting and transferring

91%

24%

74%

Workers compensation rate (per $100 of gross wages)

$4.41

$2.78

37%

Workers compensation insurance premium

$346,228

$238,955

31%

Modified work days

$14,326

-0-

100%

Peck: How did Jennings get started with the new safe-lifting program in 2006?

Salopeck: It started with one of our board members, Carol Sedlak, a professor of nursing at Kent State University, who had been teaching the American Nursing Association's Safe Patient Handling Module, but finding that students doing their clinicals were seeing something quite different in the real world. She said, “There is no safe way for a body to lift a body, so why shouldn't we do things the right way?” Her involvement at the research level enabled us to get financial support from local foundations toward purchasing up-to-date lift equipment, which cost nearly $600,000. Another key to this support was that the program wasn't just about the equipment-there were broader implications for staff training and resident care. We spent a lot of time and resources educating 175 nursing staff over seven months, using four hours of classroom instruction and four hours of competency testing, with each course lasting over six to eight weeks. And this is repeated with every new hire. Then, staff performance was enhanced by the type of equipment we installed.
Attentive staff securing a ceiling lift for a resident. Increased resident/staff conversations were a benefit

Attentive staff securing a ceiling lift for a resident. Increased resident/staff conversations were a benefit



Peck: Would you elaborate on that?

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