Manual patient handling is the most frequently reported risk factor for work-related musculoskeletal disorders in healthcare. Patient handling tasks are routinely performed manually without assistive devices, and can create awkward postures and high loads for nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs). However, AHPs - notably physiotherapists - also utilize therapeutic handling to facilitate patient movement during rehabilitation. The objective of this study was to comprehensively map the literature surrounding manual patient handling (without assistive devices) by healthcare practitioners. AMED, CINAHL, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus and EMBASE databases were searched. Grey literature was sourced from Google Scholar, EThOS, Open Grey, Health and Safety Executive, National Institute for Occupational Safety, and Health and Work Safe Australia. Literature published in English between 2002 and 2021 was included. Forty-nine records were identified: 36 primary research studies, 1 systematic review and 12 "other", including narrative and government reports. Primary research was predominantly observational cross-sectional (n=21). The most common settings included laboratories (n=13) and hospitals (n=13). Seven research questions were identified, with patient handling practices (n=13) the most common. Nurses formed the largest practitioner population (n=13) and patients were often simulated (n=12). Common outcomes included tasks performed (n=13) and physical demands during patient handling (n=13). This comprehensive scoping review identified that most research was observational, investigating nurses in hospitals or laboratories. More research on manual patient handling by AHPs and investigation of the biomechanics involved in therapeutic handling is needed. Further qualitative research would allow for greater understanding of manual patient handling practices within healthcare.
JOHNSON, K., SWINTON, P., PAVLOVA, A. and COOPER, K. 2023. Manual patient handling in the healthcare setting: a scoping review. Physiotherapy [online], 120, pages 60-77. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2023.06.003