Nursing: Lifting, Transferring and Positioning of Patients

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Nursing: Lifting, Transferring and Positioning of Patients

Lab Report
Student No. {xxxxxxxxx}
Group No. {x}
Marker's Name: {xxxxx xxxxxxxx}


Lifting, transferring and positioning of patients is frequently undertaken by nurses on each working day. This is necessary for patient comfort, medical reasons and completion of self care needs. Lifting can be done in numerous ways. As well as the nurse physically lifting or moving patients, a number of devices are also available to assist in the transfer of patients. These range from straps that are attached to or placed under the patients, to mechanical hoists and lifters. Any assistance the nurse has is beneficial for both the patient and the health care worker, as patient's weights are generally heavier than the nurses physical capabilities. This, combined with incorrect lifting techniques, can result in muscle strain, or more seriously, spinal injury for the nurse, and discomfort, muscle strain or further injury for the patient.


When lifting, transferring or positioning patients, the most important consideration is safety. Any of these procedures need to be undertaken with it in mind. This safety is inclusive of both the patient and the health care worker. Communication is an important part of the lifting process as the nurse should elicit information from the client to find out how and when they prefer to be moved. This allows the patient to be involved in the decision making process and be fully aware of what is occurring. By communicating with the client, the nurse is also aware of whether or not the patient is experiencing any discomfort during or after the lift.

The actions of lifting, transferring or positioning need to be completed for numerous reasons, including relief of pressure points. Due to the patient being in one position continuously, they are prone to the development of pressure areas. In terms of patient needs, being in the same position constantly is physically uncomfortable. However, mentally, a change in the immediate surroundings is also beneficial for the patient. It is also necessary for the patient to be moved for completion of their self care needs. This includes their hygiene needs, which include, bathing or showering, elimination, hair, oral and nail care.


When lifting, transferring or positioning patients manually, safety is the most important factor. This safety is for the nurse themselves as well as for the patient. One aspect of safety is for the nurse to utilise "good body mechanics" (Kozier et al 1995, p.879). This refers to the nurse having balance, which can be achieved with the feet being spread approximately shoulder width apart, which gives stability and a "wide base of support" (Kozier et al 1995, p.888). According to Kozier et al, (1995 p.879) balance is also achieved by correct body alignment and good posture. The use of correct body alignment reduces the strain on muscles and joints, and makes lifting the clients much easier.

When lifting clients, the first thing the nurse should do is explain to the patient what they are doing and ask the patient if there is any particular way they would prefer to be moved. This allows the patient to have some opinion about what is being done to them.

The next thing that should be done when moving a patient is a routine assessment. The nurse may assess the situation by firstly observing the patient and reading the nursing care plan. The nurse needs to be aware of the patients capabilities to see how much they can do or if they can assist in any way. Another important part of assessment is observing the surrounding environment, to be sure there is no obstructions or other hazards which may be injurious to the nurse or patient before, during or after the move.

The next phase is that of planning the move. The nurse decides how the patient will be moved from their current position to where they are going. This may involve...
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