How Adaptive Clothing Can Reduce Workplace Injury in the Healthcare Professional Industry
Healthcare professionals are among the highest in North America of workplace back injury. Back injuries commonly occur from moving patients on a daily basis. Below are examples of how adaptive clothing can greatly benefit health care professionals and help in reducing workplace injury.
In 2016, ‘overexertion and bodily reaction’ in registered nurses was a higher percentage than any other occupation. Registered nurses are in charge of dressing patients and moving, rolling, bending or lifting patients on a daily basis. Often they are moving multiple patients throughout the day.
‘Violence and other injuries by persons or animals’ is another problem that nurses and other healthcare aids have a much higher rate than all other occupations. Registered nurses deal with violence three times greater than any other profession. This is often due to patients being aggressive towards nurses, whether it is on purpose or not. Patients with disabilities such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other memory problems can become confused and aggressive when approached. For a nurse who has to dress them every morning and evening, this can become a huge stressor and cause workplace injury.
Open back tops, nightgowns and dresses reduce the face to face interaction and allows you to dress the patient from behind. This greatly reduces the risk of being struck by a patient. The comfortable stretch material completely opens up, allowing the garment to be slid up the arms and be wrapped around to the back. Once at the back, the garment is simply snapped into place with dome closures. These closures are placed strategically on the shoulders to ensure that there are no pressure points while the patient is lying down.
One main offenders of workplace injury is a musculoskeletal disorder often when handling patients. Drawing attention to dressing situations, a healthcare professionals helping a patient dress every morning and evening involves sitting them up to help put shirts on. Rolling patients back and forth in order to pull pants up, as well as bending to help patients put on other pieces of clothing that are more mobile and only require minimal help. That’s bending, pushing and pulling all before the day even starts.
Adaptive Clothing will allow patients to be more independent, with a soft elastic waist pants, magnetic tops, and pants that open at the side with easy touch fasteners instead of buttons and zippers. Adaptive Footwear is made with larger openings and easy touch (or Velcro brand closures) fastenings to make footwear much easier to put on. This will let patients stay independent for longer, without having to struggle with laces. For patients that are reliant on assisted dressing, it will be easier to guide the foot into the shoe resulting in less time to bending. This alleviates some bending in the nurses dressing routine.
Patients that are wheelchair bound, bed ridden or have other forms of paralysis, adaptive wear can be the perfect solution. Open back wear has stretchy comfortable materials for pants and tops that fasten up at the back. This allows the person that is being dressed to remain in a seated or lying down position while dressing. Open back pants have snaps at the back, so the pants are drawn up to the legs, and then the pants are wrapped around the body and snapped at the waist. This means the patient doesn’t need to be rolled as much while getting the pants on. This is beneficial throughout the day if there are any spills or accidents on the pants simply unbutton the back and the pants easily slide off as easily as they slide on.
Unfortunately, with all these injuries and workplace violence, nurses have a turnover rate of up to 37% (Nursing Solutions, 2016) because of nursing burnout. Nursing burnout is a mix of nurses that are over worked or suffer from a workplace injury and never return to the work force. Any help to the daily job of a healthcare professional is important in lowering the turnover rate and reducing nursing burnout. Adaptive Clothing is an immensely helpful solution to the morning & evening routine by reducing stress on the back; less lifting and shifting allows nurses to preserve their back for longer. Adaptive Clothing allows nurses to dress violent patients from behind; with the ease of dressing from behind as well as the lowered amount of time spent struggling to dress. Adaptive Clothing has a solution for every dressing situation, and enables you to find a solution to even the most problem dressers.
Haddad LM, Toney-Butler TJ. Nursing Shortage. [Updated 2019 Jan 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/