PATRAN® Uses for Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Mobility
In recent years, the safe patient handling realm has expanded to include mobility. PATRAN® slide sheets can assist rehabilitation and therapy caregivers working to help patients become more mobile and regain their functional independence.
Research proves that significant health benefits result from early mobility.1,2 Getting patients moving can greatly affect the patient’s length of stay in a healthcare facility and serve as a predictor of the likelihood of a return admission. The mobility component more closely connects safe patient handling with patient health and safety.
Prolonged immobility adversely affects just about every aspect of a patient’s body function and can lead to the development of serious and costly new hospital-acquired conditions such as pneumonia or pressure ulcers. The following are some of the short- and long-term adverse medical affects from patient immobility:2,3
- Muscle (including cardiac) atrophy
- Pulmonary emboli/DVT
- Fluid buildup in chest
- Cognitive impairments
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Skin breakdown
As healthcare facilities face more pressure to reduce patients’ length of stay, especially in the intensive/critical care unit, therapy programs play a key role.4 One study showed that length of stay decreased by an average of 2.7 days as a result of early mobility programs.
PATRAN use in rehabilitation and mobility programs
Early mobility starts in bed with turning, boosting, and repositioning a patient. A PATRAN slide sheet can reduce the strain on the therapist moving the patient and reduce friction, providing a more comfortable experience that a patient would be more inclined to want to repeat.
PATRAN slide sheets can also help with therapeutic exercises related to muscle activation, pain reduction, joint motion, coordination, range of motion, and strengthening.5,6
As a patient progresses to assisting with these activities, bringing a PATRAN into therapy can make moving less daunting for the patient. Patients who see tasks such as rolling onto their side or boosting themselves up in bed as impossible may become more willing to participate with the help of a slide sheet.
As the patient progresses to upright mobility, a PATRAN can be used to help reposition him or her in a chair or allow the patient to pivot more easily to the edge of the bed to dangle their feet or prepare for the first steps out of bed.
As the patient gets worn out, the risk that they will fall increases. The PATRAN can serve as an aid during transfers when a patient tires toward the end of a rehab session.
Occupational therapists will also find uses for PATRAN slide sheets, like helping patients dress, put on shoes, or get their compression stockings on more easily.
Even outpatient therapists will find plenty of uses for the PATRAN. From athletic rehab exercises to moving patients more easily during spinal alignment and helping patients get in and out of vehicles, the PATRAN quickly becomes a go-to tool for the creative therapist.
PATRAN use prevents injury to therapists
Safe patient handling equipment can create safe work environments for caregivers without compromising rehab goals for patients, according to a growing body of research.4,7
Therapists have long put themselves in harm’s way, believing they need to sacrifice their own bodies for the benefit of the patient’s progress. That belief has resulted in therapists under-reporting patient-handling injuries and a misconception that therapists don’t get hurt.
In fact, therapists get injured on the job or experience work-related pain at a high rate.7 The cumulative risk of manually lifting and moving patients during long shifts makes therapy caregivers more susceptible to strains and sprains. They often try self-treating and changing up the way they work from active to more passive activities, perhaps limiting the patient’s progress.
Safe patient handling equipment, including PATRAN slide sheets, make therapists feel more confident that they and their patients won’t get hurt. Therapists report reduced work-related fatigue and physical effort when assisting the patient with a task and increased ability to mobilize patients with lower functioning earlier, more frequently, and for longer periods of time when they used SPHM equipment.5
Therapists can serve as injury prevention leaders
Rehabilitation professionals are uniquely positioned to introduce PATRAN slide sheets to their organizations and to serve as a resource regarding their use and benefits for both caregivers and patients.
The American Physical Therapy Association has acknowledged the role of physical therapy in safe patient handling, specifically as the “experts in rehabilitation and prevention of injury and strain to the neuromusculoskeletal system, fall prevention, and utilizing technology to facilitate optimum patient outcomes while maintaining patient and caregiver safety.”8
At many healthcare facilities, therapists serve as super-users or safe patient handling champions. They coach staff in PATRAN use and help brainstorm creative ways to use PATRAN as a tool in a patient care and recovery plan.
1Arnold M. Effects of Immobility. In: Early Mobility: How to Get Your Patients Up and Moving Faster, a Universal Hospital Services Webinar, Feb. 26, 2015. 2Arnold M. Building a Foundation of Mobility: From ICU and Across the Continuum of Care. International Journal of Safe Patient Handling and Mobility 2017;7:40-44.
3Arnold M, et al. Overcoming Barriers to Mobilizing Bariatric Patients: Three Case Studies. American Journal of SPHM 2015;5:47-54.
4Safe Patient Handling and Rehabilitation. The Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals Webinar, Aug. 14, 2014. Darrah A, Campo M, keynote presenters.
5SMART Goals and SPHM. The Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals Webinar, Nov. 12, 2014. Arnold M., keynote presenter.
6Nelson AL, et al. The Illustrated Guide to Safe Patient Handling & Movement. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co., 2009.
7Darragh A, et al. Health-Related Quality of Life Associated with Severity and Age in Occupational and Physical Therapists With Musculoskeletal Disorders. International Journal of Safe Patient Handling and Mobility 2017;7:29-39.
8The Role of Physical Therapy in Safe Patient Handling. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) web page, June 2012. Accessed May 30, 2017.