Biomechanical Evaluation of Patient Handling Jobs in Healthcare: A Case Study in India
The principles of ergonomics can be applied to the study and design for the components of any worksystem involving human(s) and machine(s) embedded in environment. Performance of healthcare is considered one of the sectors of industry heavily relying on humans performance that is mainly controlled by the way the human-machine interaction or interface is designed. Even though sophisticated diagnostic equipment and system may replace manual tasks, a large number of jobs like patient handling, OPD operations, nursing, etc., are irreplaceable by machines. In such a scenario, it becomes important to look at these jobs from an ergonomic point of view and identify potential risks associated with the jobs that the hospital assistants carry out on a daily basis. Patient-handling is one such job which has been covered in much of the ergonomic literature. Many alternative postures for manual unassisted handling as well as ergonomic designs of stretchers and wheelchairs have been discussed by researchers. In this paper, dynamic biomechanical models of the work postures of several health-care hospital assistants while carrying out tasks such as lifting patients from beds to stretchers, or placing them on wheelchairs, or giving support through shoulders during physical diagnosis of the patient are presented. Since the hospital assistants have to work with patients of several different anthropometry, weight, etc., these may exert a potential risk for them to acquire low-back pain (LBP) and other Musculoskeletal disorders because of sudden and inappropriate postures.
KeywordsPatient handling jobs Ergonomic performance Biomechanical models Healthcare systems
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