This article provides a review of the safe patient handling and movement journey that has taken place in the USA over the last one hundred and eighteen years. This list of historical milestones demonstrates a paradigm shift from an acceptance that it is the fault of health care professionals when they hurt their backs caring for patients to recognizing there are physical limitations as to how much an individual can safely lift. That good body mechanics alone are not enough to prevent musculoskeletal injuries when lifting and transferring patients and mechanical devices are essential to perform these activities safely. Commencing in 1893 and ending in 2011, there is one significant milestone that has yet to be reached. The passing of federal legislation mandating all health care facilities and agencies to implement safe patient handling and movement programs and provide a safer working environment for all their staff.
Monaghan HM, Proctor RB