February/March 2014 (vol. 10/5)

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Research Plus

Back injury link to daily patient transfers

A prospective cohort study of 5,017 female eldercare healthcare workers (HCWs) in Denmark identified an increased risk of back injury associated with daily patient transfer. Baseline data collected in 2004–05 and follow-up data in 2006–07. Information on low-back pain at baseline, patient handling, use of assistive devices and back injury at work in the previous 12 months was gathered by questionnaire (78%–80% response). At follow-up, 3.9% of HCWs reported a recent back injury at follow-up (0.5% recurrent cases, 3.4% new incidents) – the figure was higher (5.0%) among those doing daily patient handling. The estimated population attributable fraction (ie the proportion of back injuries caused by daily patient transfer) was 36%. Frequent and very frequent use of assistive devices reduced risk in those doing daily patient transfer: odds ratios = 0.59 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.36–0.98) and 0.62 (CI 0.38–1.00) respectively.

Patient transfers and assistive devices: prospective cohort study on the risk for occupational back injury among healthcare workers. Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment and Health 2014; 40(1): 74–81


Occupational Health at Work February/March 2014 (vol. 10/5) pp40