26 September 2023

Pilot program for care of aged and disabled

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WorkCover is running a pilot program that seeks to ease the burden of people-handling injuries on nurses, support workers and carers in aged care and disability services.

WorkCover’s program involves a simple tool that staff can use to screen a patient’s mobility and then select the best techniques and equipment to help prevent injuries resulting from manually moving the patient.

So far, the method and training resources piloted at various sites have led to fewer injuries resulting from people-handling for those staff working in the industry.

According to WorkCover, on each pilot site during 2021 there were no injuries or incidents to people-handling reported and 97 per cent of participants reported confidence using the mobility screening tool.

Developed by allied health experts working with Wesley Mission Queensland, Choice Passion Life, and Churches of Christ, the program uses the mobility screening method and a suite of online training resources.

In a statement, WorkCover said high rates of work-related musculoskeletal injuries continued to occur for aged care and disability service workers, despite the use of mechanical aides to assist with people-handling tasks.

“The new mobility screening method was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, unions, industry and workers and trialled in the industry with feedback sought from nurses, healthcare assistants and disability and aged care workers,” WorkCover said.

“It was found that non-clinical staff can gain competence in the process through just two hours of supported learning and practice.”

It said all respondents in the pilot program perceived a lower risk of injury when they were able to make a temporary change in mobility.

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