Tips for carers

    • As a nurse or carer, lifting and moving the person you care for is one of the toughest parts of your job.

      In fact, 40% of NHS workers who have to take time off work because of a musculoskeletal condition, often caused by lifting or moving patients.

      With the right training, regular breaks and help from others, you’ll be able to do your vital work safely.

      “Getting appropriate training in how to lift and move patients is the best way to avoid injury”

      adds Jan Vickery, Lead Physiotherapist at AXA PPP healthcare.

      Caring for people who need a lot of physical support can take its toll on you. Repetitive moving and lifting can cause back and shoulder pain, which could leave you unable to provide the level of care you’d like. Following these tips will help prevent injury and leave you better able to cope.

      Get help with lifting

      Most injuries to care workers and family carers come from repeated lifting. Use a hoist or other lifting equipment if you can. If your patient is weak or agitated, you may need someone else to help you lift them. You might also need to change the layout of the room if it makes lifting and moving difficult.

      Explain what you’re doing

      If you clearly explain to your patient how you plan to lift or transfer them, they may be able to work with you to help you ease the load.

      Work with their better side

      If your patient is stronger on their right side and you are transferring them to a chair, for example, make sure the chair is on their right, so they can take some of the weight as they move.

      Get down to their level

      Likewise, when you are transferring someone, you should bend down to their level and stand in close to them so that your body can take their weight more efficiently.

      Space your tasks

      Don’t go from one heavy manual task straight to another, space them out and alternate with lighter work. If you have had a heavy day of lifting, you might let some of the housework wait until tomorrow.

      Take a break

      Taking a break every few hours is important to rest your back and conserve energy.


      Try some stretches for your back and shoulder to relieve tension. Regular exercise, such as walking or cycling, will also help to prevent pain and injury.

      Source: Health and Safety Executive


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