We’ve Got Your Back

The Lift Team supports patients and nursing staff at UF Health Jacksonville.

By: Natalie Spindle

Nursing injuries resulting from lifting and assisting patients are something hospitals work hard to avoid. The Lift Team at UF Health Jacksonville was first developed in 2010 as a pilot program under the direction of Cynthia Gerdik, DNP, associate vice president of nursing, in response to an increase in staff injuries in the intensive care units. The team works to streamline the process of patient movement to ensure safety for all patients and staff.

Valerie Platt, DNP, clinical nursing director of cardiology, neurology and orthopaedic services, oversees the Lift Team and ensures staff are trained and prepared to use necessary lift equipment.

Successful innovations such as the Lift Team support the health of nurses and other providers while improving patient care at UF Health Jacksonville.

“The Lift Team’s success is largely due to the multidisciplinary Critical Care Council’s involvement in its development, the innovative approach to training its members, the team’s implementation and
its initial roll out in the organization, and administrative support,” Platt said.

Campuswide, there are 14 specially trained staff members on the Lift Team who work in two groups of two during day shift and one group of two during night shift. The team is responsible for coordinating patient mobility at all times.

The team’s primary focus is movement of patients requiring maximum assistance for mobility, including bed repositioning and transfers to the bed, chair, stretcher or toilet.

“Most commonly, we are called to move patients in and out of bed and to provide boosts, where we help sit the patient upright,” said Deshi Banks, a Lift Team member and patient care associate.

The Lift Team conducts proactive rounding to ensure padding is placed under all devices and braces. They are also highly trained to assist with calls for cardiac arrest, performing chest compressions and assisting with falls.

“We consult with staff nurses before moving any patients,” Banks said. “We take the time to learn any restrictions patients may have, so we are sure to turn them the proper way.”

Proper lifting techniques and lift equipment have a direct impact on patient improvement, as well as reducing staff injuries. Lift Team techniques help prevent patient injuries, such as pressure ulcers, and they help support early ambulation, getting the patient up and moving, which leads to improved blood flow.

Lift Team staff complete training throughout each year to stay up-to-date on the equipment used to assist patients. Physical therapists at UF Health Jacksonville also guide nursing staff in proper technique and form to prevent injuries.

The equipment most commonly used are mats, lifts and specialty chairs — all designed to reduce the weight patients and staff have to support.

“The equipment makes moving easier and more efficient,” said Corey Lee, a Lift Team member and patient care associate. “We’re working to save the backs of our nursing staff colleagues.”

Nursing staff have peace of mind thanks to the ease of coordination provided by the Lift Team.

Dalton Ringler, a Lift Team member and patient care associate takes seriously the charge of keeping staff safe from injury.

“We’ve heard from new nurses who say other local hospitals don’t have a specialized team for lifting,” said Ringler. “The nurses are always appreciative of the help.”