Safe Patient Handling News

Jennifer, Coordinator of OT/PT services at Lifetime Assistance Receives has accomplished many things.  "Jennifer set up templates for all standard protocols related to OT and PT.  She has a consistent method to document instructions and information related to equipment and mobility which is essential to functioning in the efficient manor required for our department.


Jennifer heads the safe patient handling committee with Michelle Rugaber. The committee meets quarterly and reviews all staff injuries related to mobility and equipment. The committee looks at preventing repeating injuries and following up with the site that the incident had occurred. Our train the trainer program nominates a staff member who regularly uses lift equipment to train staff at their site. The trainers attend a 3 hour class reviewing the SPH law and all lift 

Maureen Cox presents Blanca Gonzalez-Parker with the NYS Zero Lift Task Force's 2018 Advocacy Award.  Blanca is a Program Associate for NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training.  Blanca is a member of conference planning committee of the Zero Lift Task Force and has served as a liaison between the conference committee and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations.  She helps  pave the way for conference attendance for New York State PEF and CSEA members. This has enabled information to flow that allows the paperwork necessary for conference attendance to be developed and completed timely and getting funds available. Blanca is a nurse by training and brings that insight to the planning process as a voice for the daily struggles faced.  She has made herself available to assist the  conference for any duty needed. Blanca is a shining example of the soft persistent voice that advocates for what is needed.

Allison Dodge, Nurse Administrator from Upstate University Hospital nominated all of the Safe Patient Handling coaches at Upstate Hospital, many of which attended the 10 Annual Safe Patient Handling Conference.  “We have a great group of staff coming to the conference, either for the first time, or have been  a couple of times.  I have so many  wonderful coaches to nominate I don't know where to start, but have to say all of them in their own way go above and beyond for staff and patient safety!!  We all face challenges every day, but as a group we keep working together to get a task completed or at least come up with the best solution at that time. I can say in this role the SPH coaches are my ears and eyes of the hospital and carry the team spirit even when I am not here. Everyone comes with passion, new ideas, and growing opportunities to keep this program going.  We can only continue to grow as a team!



The Safe Patient Handling (SPH) Program at Erie County Medical Center came about as a slow but steady process over many years.  The beginning stages came about in 2007 when a Minimal Lift Program was implemented, with an investment in a handful of floor lifts and pilot programs for selected nursing units.  The Minimal Lift Program was sustained over the years as part of the Ergonomics Committee, with occasional opportunities to grow in some of the clinics that needed ceiling lifts or an ergonomic assessment. 


By 2016, with the growing SPH regulations from New York State, the need to develop a more formal program was evident.   ECMC hired Loretta Miller, PT, DPT, NCS, CEAS as ECMC's first Safe Patient Handling Coordinator.  Working with Ergonomic Committee members, she was able to build a SPH Committee and start in depth needs assessments for the entire campus.  She developed formal policies and procedures in line with the NYS regulations, implemented training for new hires and SPH Champions, and made recommendations for new SPH equipment.