When moving and handling becomes pushing and shoving

In an ideal world all the equipment needed would be at each placement before the live-in carer arrives. This would make life easier for both carer and client and moving around would be safe every time.

This is not always the situation and occasionally you may find yourself at a placement where to move a client from one place to another seems to be more a case of heaving and hauling, rather than moving and handling.

Sometimes, as is the case with many things in life, we simply get used to the way things are done, whether they are right or wrong. We may also forget that there are other ways to do the same things which may make life easier for all concerned.

This is certainly true in live-in care situations where a client needs help of some sort to stand and transfer from a chair to a wheelchair for example.

Where could things turn difficult?

Any client who has a disability, an illness or is generally frail may need help here:

  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Turning over in bed
  • Sitting up in bed
  • Bathing or showering
  • Using the toilet
  • Sitting in a chair
  • Standing
  • Walking or transferring to a wheelchair
  • Getting in and out of a vehicle

To help our client move safely it is essential to know about moving and handling so that neither the carer nor the client is injured.

The most common injuries from unsafe moving and handling are to the back. Not only does this limit the carer’s movement, but it also limits their ability to take care of their client and may take a very long time to recover from.

Live-in carers are required by most agencies to undergo regular update training which will cover in detail the safe practice of moving and handling.

Although as a private carer you may not be required to do this, it is always a good idea to keep yourself informed about new ideas and updated on new laws or regulations concerning moving and handling.

We seem to be pushing a lot – what now?

It is a fact of life that situations change, and in every live-in care placement, things will sooner or later deteriorate to a point where a client battles to support themselves, cannot stand up straight, or simply cannot get up from a chair.

Pushing and shoving, grappling and pulling, heaving and hauling are not the right way to continue when things change. It may be that people have just become used to using that extra force to help a client stand or turn without even realizing it, as is often the case.

For example, look at the mother of a newborn baby. It is very easy for her to carry the little one as it hardly weighs much. However, as the child grows, she still carries it because she has become used to the extra weight over time.

Most children can easily walk although they may prefer to be carried, with no respect to the back pain mom is in, picking up and carrying around a heavy child.

We simply get used to things, even if they are not best for the client and ourselves.

What to do?

There is always specialist advice available if you arrive at a placement and realize that you are expected to push and shove, rather than move and handle.

  • Occupational therapists
  • Manual handling advisors
  • Physiotherapists

All or any of these people will be able to advise you on a better way to help your client with their daily routine.

Talk to the doctor, or District Nurse if the client has been allocated one. Both will be able to advise you on the best path to follow.

Final thoughts

Never think that pushing and shoving a client to stand, turn and move is the right way to work. It is not. It is a very good way for you and your client to either fall or injure your backs and should not be done.

Never feel guilty because you are the ‘only carer to complain about the way things are’ as this is just an excuse to do nothing.

Better to do something than to end in a situation where your client is in hospital, and you cannot work because you have injured your back. 









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