Posted on Oct 30, 2018



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.

Two years later, ECMC has grown the SPH Program considerably.  There are over 70 SPH Champions throughout the facility.  There are approximately 50 floor lifts and 20 ceiling lifts available for use.  The central supply department has individual patient slings, non-friction repositioning slips, and gait belts available for any unit.  The injury rate for SPH related injuries has trended down steadily since the program started, and the goals going forward are to continue to build the program through success stories and additional champions and to minimize the injury rate associated with patient repositioning and mobility.