Consider this common scenario: Your papa can not get out of bed and into his wheelchair without assi

By Michelle Seitzer

Without sufficient training on how best to transfer her father -- and without physical or mechanical assistance (i.e. a patient lift or a lifting belt) -- it may simply be a matter of time before the daughter, and maybe her dad, are hurt or injured. Damage or the injury may occur instantaneously or surface later.

The Centers for Disease Control cite "overexertion episodes" as the "leading source of and prices in health care settings." Nurses along with other frontline nursing staff suffer more back and shoulder injuries, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic back pain -- experienced both on and off the job -- than just about any other profession, says this CDC article. As obesity rates continue to soar, and as professional and family caregivers age, the issue of safe patient handling becomes of greater relevance. Additionally, the nursing shortage will strike 250,000 by the year 2025 (based on research referenced in the above CDC post). There are safe patient handling laws in a few hospitals and healthcare facilities, but thus far, they've just been enacted in 10 states (source: American Nurses Association), and such laws don't cover caregivers at home or in the community.

A health professional for someone with mobility challenges is most likely "lifting" their patient or loved one multiple times throughout a 24 hour interval, and like the daddy-daughter example, most caregiver/caree pairs are usually not well matched in terms of strength and size. Don't let that stop you from safe lifting practices . Consider these hints: . Communicate together with the individual you happen to be lifting. Don't just come up without warning or without a strategy behind them. Put them at ease, tell them you intend to transfer them, and to where. Speak with them throughout the transport. Don't rush.

2. Do not use your back to lift. Instead, focus on utilizing the strength in your legs.

3. Help, do not lift. Make the move a joint attempt. Ask the patient to assist you in any manner that is possible.

4. Don't lift from the midsection of the patient, says Wade McKinney, aka "TheTransferGuy." Doing so is more likely to cause injury and less easy. Rather, "have the patient push up using their arms and support their forearms just below the elbows." He advises this technique is just not ideal for many patients, "notably individuals who require considerably more help."

5. Use a patient lift. It's one of the safest, most comfortable dignity-preserving methods available, and it is quite affordable too. Divide the cost with a different caregiving neighbor, if need be, or ask family members to assist cover the price. Prices range from $600 to $6000, based on the kind of lift.

Want to learn more about patient lifts? Visit our site to view a wide selection of slings, lifts, lifting systems and accessories from top manufacturers that could match an array of needs (i.e. lifting multiple patients, needing to carry the lift to other rooms, or a lift designed expressly for getting into a pool).