Turning, Repositioning and Transferring Clients: Not as Easy as One, Two, Three

Turning and repositioning clients seem to be an easy task. Even the nurse’s order is as short and simple as “Turn q 2h.” There are lots of times when these maneuvers would not need a physician’s order, but have to be done as part of routine care. Those who provide bedside care, especially nurses, assistants, allied health professionals and in special cases, even doctors tackle this seemingly mundane task with a lot of challenges. 

As part of employee engagement seminars, sometimes workers are asked for difficulties they encounter in the workplace. In relation to turning, repositioning and transferring clients, health workers have one common thing to say: these tasks devour their time and energy, much to the detriment of patient care. If you are someone experiencing difficulties with moving your client, you will definitely nod your head in agreement to these challenges below:

  • Obese Clients - Imagine a 250-lb unconscious male client who needs to be repositioned every 2 hours. Just thinking of it makes your brow sweat and your knees wobble.
  • Those who cannot bear weight - They can barely help out moving themselves; but you still have to smile amidst their complaints and indifference.
  • Clients in pain - They have to be moved anyway. If the client has pain medications that are due, you are in luck. But it would be one of your manic-panic days if you have to call it in and wait for a return call. You will have to transcribe telephone orders, call the pharmacy, acquire or wait for stock, and then document. Just double the trouble if you are to obtain a controlled substance such as morphine.
  • The unit is understaffed - There are only two nursing assistants. You are waiting for one to finish her lunch break, and the other has just started an enema. Other nurses are jog-walking. You even see one like yourself doing the “Atlas” lifting all by herself. It’s been 15 minutes with no help available.
  • You have mechanical lifters - Life is sweet! But then you remember that the bases are too big to fit under the bed. One lifter’s remote is not working. You are waiting for your turn to use either of the two which are working. You are third in line.
  • The client is soiled - You would have to deal with the entire thing of acquiring supplies and actually changing the client’s clothes. In super-fast mode, you do that in half an hour. It’s just that somebody else has used the lifter.
  • Uncooperative clients - You sometimes wish that the slings of the lifters become straight jackets. You talk to your clients and convince them that turning is good for them. During good days, that takes 15 minutes. That is just for the talking.
  • The client has pressure ulcers - You are careful to decide which part of your client’s anatomy can bear weight and which cannot. It takes more time to turn and reposition lest your client end up looking like a praying mantis.

These are just patient and workplace factors. How about yourself suffering from low back pain, and having a high nurse-patient ratio? What if you are underweight or petite? What if there are just not enough personnel to perform the tasks?

As a staff member, do you wish that the management could see your dilemma? Do you feel that you have to voice  your observations and your suggestions but that your concerns seem just a little bit too trivial to tell the management? Do you wish you had clearer delegation protocols?

Are you a leader in your organization hoping to have an “eye” for these observations that seem too petty to be noticed but actually have significant impact to client care and satisfaction? Would you like to have a better way to reach out to your staff?

With closed loop communication and collaboration, and a platform available for continuous process improvement, these matters can be openly discussed. Messages can come through the right channels so that the right people can immediately commence finding solutions. 

With ManageUP, there are no trivial issues when it comes to improving patient outcomes and employee engagement. We take precious time and effort away from mundane tasks and help you redirect your worth to the things that matter more.

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