How are patients shifted from bed to ambulance

In this article, we want to share with you the process of moving a person from place to place. Moreover, in emergency situations, ambulance crew have to do it really quickly, yet carefully and gently so as to not cause more pain to the patient.

You may not need to get into an ambulance or admit into the hospital, but these experience-driven opinions should give you insight. How you can improvise to your situation is all up to you.

1) Equipment you can buy to shift patients easily

Money can solve many problems. This is one of those problems.

1a) Patient shifting board, a.k.a, Patslide

Google up “patient shifting board” and the most recognisable brands is Patslide. Basically what you are getting it a stiff, rigid piece of plastic board that slips under the patient. Since the patient is lying parallel to the ground, the smooth surface of the board allows you to slide the patient from one surface to another easily.

So in the cases where emergency services use the patslide is when the patient is oversized (a nice way of saying obese – sorry) or when there are confirmed or suspected broken bones. We won’t want to worsen anything. And the smooth sliding motion helps in reducing unnecessary movement.

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1b) Canvas sheet

Canvas sheet is basically a soft sheet that’s larger than your standard human.

The easiest way of explaining this to you (or anyone really) is to give you an example. If someone were to jump off a building, the first thing most bystanders will do is to get a curtain or table cloth and spread it out. This sheet which these good people intend to catch the crazy suicidal person is the same one we are talking about, BUT, a canvas sheet is firm and can hold a lot of weight without tearing.

Dimensions of a standard canvas sheet is around 2 metres in height by 0.5 metres in width. There are rungs (handles) by the sides which allow the people carrying the person to have good grip.

2) Manpower & skills you need to transfer a patient safely

You will need at least two people to carry a single bed-ridden patient.

The first person supports the upper body – including the weight of the person’s back and managing the delicate spine and head.

The second person takes on the majority of the weight in the lower abdomen, buttocks and thighs. This can be heavy so be careful.

With more people, the extra hands can hold on to the rungs of the canvas, Patslide or stretcher. These releases much of the load bearing activities and lets the evacuation team manoeuvre about with greater precision, without bumps and knocks.

3) Tips during patient transfer

Before lifting and shifting the patient, each team member must be able to physically fit and able to bear the extra weight.

  • Get more people to help if the patient is heavy
  • Do a mini test-run by lifting a little to check if everyone can continue with the rest of the carrying
  • Clear out any obstructions which are in the way before moving
  • Speed is secondary during transfers; take precautions in not creating additional pain to the patient
  • Between pain management and urgency of transfer, modify the speed of shifting the patient so that the patient can tolerate the momentary discomfort
  • Regular equipment checks and servicing to maintain equipment in good working order

4) Common mistakes when moving patient

Medical lapses can cause harm to the injured. In poorly managed circumstances, harm by omission or negligence can similarly create legal and financial implications. Be accountable.

  • People without sufficient on-the-job training or have not undergone briefings can help, but should not take lead
  • Sweaty palms should be cleaned to prevent slips
  • Equipment with visible cracks and frays should not be used for heavy patient transfers
  • If the ambulance crew arrives, let them take over instead of blocking their way
  • Not assisting the paramedics and providing “bystander eye power” won’t help anyone. Offer assistance. Lend a hand.
  • Not moving the patient would be better if there is no immediate danger or urgency

Also, consider the patient care plan before acting to move the patient. Unneeded movement aggravates and can cause inflammation, especially for patients with painful skin conditions.

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This post was last modified on March 17, 2021 5:50 pm