Landau K, WeiÃert-Horn M, Jacobs M and Diaz Meyer M
The high degree of musculo-skeletal stress arising during patient transfers is one of the principal factors responsible for back pain in nursing staff. This study reports on the musculo-skeletal stresses and corresponding strains occurring in nurses working with totally dependent patients and on training to minimize these and its effect on the nurses. Designed as an intervention study, it was performed in a specialist facility for intensive care of totally dependent patients and in a department of a hospital treating rehabilitation patients requiring intensive care. Aim of the study was to protect the nurses? dorsal health and to keep both younger and older nurses fit for work. The study results confirm that the nurses are highly exposed to risk of considerable musculo-skeletal disorders and, in particular, that poor ergonomics are the deciding factor for the ensuing stresses and strains. Ergonomic training for these nurses focused mainly on improvement of load-handling techniques, avoidance of extreme body postures, creation of optimal spatial conditions and prevention of accidental falls. This was complemented by physical and functional training to optimize spinal stability. Proof of efficacy of this physical training was obtained.