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Body mechanics enable medical personnel to perform moving and lifting activities while avoiding back strain. Primarily, the concern is for moving patients while standing at a hospital bed; however, the methods discussed can apply also to lifting or moving objects of similar weight.

a. Prepare the Patient and Your Body for Lifting Movement. Before starting to lift a patient, always explain the procedure to him. In addition, prepare your body for the lifting movement as follows:

(1) Stand with your feet apart, one foot advanced (figure 2-7A) facing the side of the bed.

(2) Lower your body to the working level by flexing your knees and at the same time keeping your back straight (figure 2-7B).

(3) Lean forward and slide your hands and arms under the patient, keeping the elbows close to your body and the back straight. At the same time, tense contract the abdominal and gluteal muscles in anticipation of moving the patient (figure 2-7C).

b. Mechanics of Body Movements. The following procedures relate to the mechanics of your body as you move the patient in the various directions.

(1) To move the patient toward you, let the arm holding the patient slide on the surface toward you while shifting your weight backward from front to rear foot (figure 2-7D).

Figure 2-7. Body positions for moving and lifting.

(2) To move the patient away from you, let the arm holding the patient slide on the surface away from you while you shift your weight forward from rear to front foot.

(3) To lift the patient, first move the patient toward you. This keeps the centers of gravity close together. Keeping elbows close to your body, straighten your knees to equalize the weight on both feet. Support the weight of the patient against the chest as you shift your weight backward.

(4) To lower the patient to the bed surface, flex the knees to lower your body to working level.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015