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Maximizing Cost Savings with a Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program

Written by: Michael Fragala, PhD, MBA, RN, WCC, CSPHP, AMS

Falls and accidents happen yet they should never be a common occurrence in a long-term nursing facility. The employees in a facility should feel safe about their work and secure that their employer is looking out for them.

The best way to protect long-term care providers and patients at your facility is with a comprehensive safe patient handling and mobility program. Implementing or updating an SPHM program ensures that providers are lifting and repositioning patients safely and that facilities are doing their due diligence to reduce workplace compensation claims.

Facilities that believe that they don’t have the funds to install a safe patient handling and mobility program also tend to believe that avoiding this measure will save them money. In fact, this step costs more money and can hinder a facility from achieving its goal.

The High Cost of Injuries

Providers play an integral role in facilities – from fostering a positive atmosphere to keeping operations running smoothly. They are why patients love your facility.

Unfortunately, their hard work can sometimes get interrupted by injury due to inadequate safety measures – as demonstrated by a nurse in Massachusetts who won a $100,000 settlement due to injuries she received after slipping and falling on a wet floor.

The cost of replacing a nurse can run a facility anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000. Unfortunately, occurrences like these also pull the focus away from patients who need care.

With a workforce shortage in healthcare following the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to even find a qualified provider to take the place of an injured one. Your facility may also face legal fines from OSHA or your local government for failing to follow safety procedures and practices.

How a Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program Saves Money

A safe patient handling and mobility program can ensure that your facility doesn’t have to pay fines and fees while significantly reducing the risk of falling, injuries, and high insurance claims.

Every year, the healthcare industry pays around $13 billion in healthcare costs for injuries caused by falls in the workplace. By training providers on lifting patients safely, updating their mobility equipment, and keeping up with maintenance, a facility can keep patients and providers safe. One less fall can reduce that bill significantly.

Insurance claims and liability also won’t suffer from a safe patient handling and mobility program. While accidents still happen, these will no longer be as common. A study conducted by Dr. Guy Fragala found that the number of resident-handling injuries dropped to zero after implementing a safe patient handling program.

Average Workers’ Compensation Claims in Post-Acute Care

On average, a resident provider in a long-term care facility will request around $12,000 as workplace compensation for an injury. These injuries can also result in a change in their ability to perform duties.

More than 18% of caregivers who injured themselves said that they could no longer do certain tasks in a health facility.

Effective Safety Measures Save Money and Lives

Facilities that invest in a safe patient handling and mobility program over time see their compensation claims lessen. Their patients do better, and their providers feel safer and more confident in their work. These programs save money, and they also offer a slew of other benefits that any facility administration cannot afford to turn down.

Safe Patient Handling Infographic CTA

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