Back Safety Tips for Caregivers
Going off of our amazing training this past week, we thought it’d be useful to follow up with some more information about how to pay attention to your back and ways to keep both yourself and client safe when lifting.
When it comes to your overall safety, keeping the back sturdy and supported is a must! Back and shoulder injuries are common in caregivers who don’t think too much about the way they lift clients, or even carry heavy groceries. In fact, it is estimated that 52% of caregivers suffer from injury as a result of lifting or moving patients.
Since most caregivers, and family caregivers, are in their 40’s or 50’s, and often continue working into their early 60’s, it is vital that you pay more attention to your overall health to prevent injury. In addition to arthritis and osteoarthritis that comes with age, when it comes to your back, the vertebrae in our spine tend to shrink down and wear away. The bones then rub against each other as the spine narrows, causing pain, making you more susceptible to injury.
Given all this, here are some tips on reducing injury:
- Before lifting, make sure that the client has their feet stable and close to the body. Asking them to literally huddle and bring their knees closer to their chest can help!
- Face the client, bend your knees and squat while keeping your back straight. This will help you get more power from your legs and arms, and keep your core tight.
- Avoid leaning over when lifting, to avoid excess strain.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce strain on muscles, joints and bones
- Avoid repetitive movements that put a lot of strain on any part of your body.
- Maintain good posture
- Reduce stress by going to the gym, practicing yoga or meditation, and don’t forget to stretch every day!
Caregivers are often tasked with handling awkward situations in and outside of the home. Whether it’s something as simple as assisting them during walking, or something more risky like lifting a client in and out of a bathtub, it’s critical that you remember how to protect your spine in any situation!