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Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Improves Patient Safety

ORANGE CITY – Florida Hospital Fish Memorial has implemented a new program designed to help protect patients from falls and staff from injuries. It’s called the Diligent Safe Patient Handing and Early Mobility Program.

Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is the only hospital in Volusia County to employ this specialized equipment. The Orange City hospital was selected as one of two hospitals within Adventist Health System (AHS) to pilot the effectiveness of the Arjo Huntleigh Safe Patient Handling Equipment and received $400,000 from AHS to cover the cost of both the equipment and training.

“Our goals are simple. This new equipment allows therapists to assist in the patients’ rehabilitation process, allowing them to participate in therapy and improve their independence, where they otherwise would have been unable,” said Roxanne Hopkins, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Director of Rehabilitation Services. “In addition, this equipment aims to reduce the risk of injury to patients and healthcare workers during patient movement and transport.”

At Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, preventing patient falls is an essential goal and is in accordance with the guidelines established by the Joint Commission, the nation's leading accrediting agency for healthcare organizations.

Another major goal is to reduce the number of back injuries suffered by Florida Hospital Fish Memorial staff. Prior to the development of lifting systems, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare providers routinely assisted patients in a wide range of transfers that required risk to both the patient and the healthcare worker – such as moving a heavy patient from the bed to a wheelchair.

“Health care workers are the only laborers in this country who consider 100 pounds light,” said Julie Vaught, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Wound Care Registered Nurse. “In any other industry, such as the U.S. Postal Service, staff would enlist the use of a mechanical device to assist them with a load heavier than 50 pounds As a result, bedside caregivers endure injuries, such as muscle strains or sprains and spinal disc herniations, as well as micro-tears to their muscles. These micro-tears accumulate over years and years of undue stress on back muscles from lifting and moving patients, which could turn into a career-ending injury.”

Internally, the Orange City hospital has worked with many departments, such as infection control, transport, purchasing, nursing, and rehabilitation services, to implement new policies and to provide the education and training on the new equipment for more than 450 employees.

“At Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, we want to take the very best care of both our patients and our staff,” said Jennifer Shull, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Chief Nursing Officer. “We are proud to be the first hospital in the area to proactively address the potential of injuries due to lifting, repositioning and transferring patients through this new equipment and training.”

About Florida Hospital Fish Memorial
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is a 175-bed full-service hospital providing inpatient and outpatient services in addition to 24-hour emergency and critical care. The hospital is a member of Adventist Health System, the largest Protestant not-for-profit hospital system in the nation and works to provide exceptional, patient-focused care to the DeBary, Deltona, Orange City and Sanford communities. Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and is Chest Pain Accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. For more information about Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, visit www.fhfishmemorial.org.

Photo Caption:
Sherry Vanvlanderen, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Radiologic Technologist, sit in the Safe Patient Handling Equipment while Bess Cornett, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial MRI technologist, practices operating the new equipment. Designed to help protect patients from falls and staff from injuries, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is the only hospital in Volusia County to employ the Diligent Safe Patient Handing and Early Mobility Program. The Orange City hospital is one of two hospitals within Adventist Health System (AHS) to pilot the program and received $400,000 from AHS to cover the cost of both the equipment and training.