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Protect Your Back While Caring for a Loved One

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Kim McCreery No Comments

back injuryLifting or helping transfer someone, such as helping him or her move from a bed to a chair, can be hard on a caregiver’s back, especially if you haven’t been trained with the proper techniques. Improper lifting or transferring can result in an injury not only to you, the caregiver, but also to the person you are trying to help.

Back injuries to caregivers usually happen if they are not:

  • Trained in how to properly lift or transfer a person
  • Trained in how to properly use assistive devices
  • Able to recognize their physical limits
  • Physically capable of lifting or transferring
  • Able to recognize when to ask for help

So can you reduce your risk of being injured? Absolutely, and here are some tips that will help.

The most important thing to remember about staying safe is something that is also taught to healthcare workers: know when to ask for help. It may be an instinct to dive right in and do what needs to be done, but there are some situations when you should never try to lift someone alone, no matter how much you feel that you can. They include:

  • If the person has fallen on the floor
  • If the person is not cooperative or is combative
  • If you don’t feel you can do so safely

When people fall on the floor and can’t get back up on their own, it’s usually safest to try to make them as comfortable as possible, with a pillow under the head for example, and then get help.

Staying Safe While Lifting and Transferring

It may be tempting sometimes to cut corners and try to save time when lifting or transferring someone, but this can lead to injury to both you and your loved one. Here are some tips that caregivers should keep in mind for everyone’s safety:

  • Know your limits. Don’t lift or transfer someone you know will be too much for your ability.
  • Encourage the person being transferred to do as much as possible, such as bearing weight if he or she can.
  • Take cues from the person you are moving. Try to move at his or her speed, and watch for signs of discomfort or pain.

For more information on home care and proper body mechanics, please contact At Home Solutions. Our caregivers have been trained in how to lift and transfer clients in a safe and professional manner. Contact us to see how we can help you, with services ranging from personal care to respite care, so you can take a break, reducing the risk of fatigue or injury. Let us help you.

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