Manual transferring of patients in bed used to be a strenuous operation for the staff at Göransgården. Occupational therapist Cecilia Fransson found a surprisingly simple solution – a green sheet.
In the nursing home Göransgården in Vrigstad outside Sävsjö, Sweden, the personnel used to use draw-sheets and manual techniques to position patients in bed. All manual transfers were heavy, both mentally and physically. Ann-Viol Gundersen works as assistant nurse at Göransgården and says that it could feel very tiresome to go in to a patient who she knew was heavy and thereby difficult to move.
– It is a heavy job with operations like turning and transfers in bed; many of us have pains in arms and legs, says Ann-Viol.
Cecilia Fransson is 1st occupational therapist in the municipality of Sävsjö where Göransgården is located. Cecilia felt that they had to find a good solution for positioning the patients in a smooth way, for their sake as well as that of the personnel.
A new discovery
The first step was to acquire an overhead lift and slings for sitting lifts. This did facilitate lifting from bed to wheelchair and many other situations, but it was not a lot of help for repositioning in bed. At that time, Cecilia didn't know that there was already an aid which had been developed precisely to facilitate transfers in bed and which did not require the personnel to lift or pull manually.
It was not until Cecilia visited "The Transfer Trip", a theme day on transfers organized by Liko and other aid manufacturers that she bumped into the RepoSheet from Liko. Immediately when she saw it, Cecilia thought of a heavy patient she worked with.
The RepoSheet is placed in the bed just like an ordinary sheet and can be used during the entire care period. The sheet is equipped with lift straps so that the patient can be lifted in bed with the help of a lift. Consequently, repositioning higher up in bed doesn't require any manual lifting at all. Turning a patient in bed also becomes as easy as anything.
– Incredible that this has not existed before, says Cecilia about the RepoSheets, which started selling on the Swedish market about a year ago. The employees at Göransgården were longing for aids to solve these situations, so for Cecilia there was no doubt.
Like with all new habits, it takes a while to get everything to work optimally. This is especially true when it is a new and unique product that nobody has used before.
– The personnel must be motivated to want to take on new aids, says Cecilia.
In order to maintain motivation and provide enough knowledge, Cecilia and Liko's representative in the area contributed to teaching the personnel in the beginning. There were certain apprehensions that the repositioning would take longer, a common reason for the personnel to "forget" using the aids.
– If everybody knows how to use the RepoSheets, it actually goes faster than lifting and turning manually, says Ann-Viol Gundersen, who demonstrates how fast a turning is done when two experienced users cooperate.
– Furthermore, it becomes dignified for patients, Cecilia adds. They don't have to feel that personnel have to make such an effort because they are heavy.
Heavier patients - increased need
The need for aids when positioning patients has become even more pronounced as the populations in large parts of the world has become heavier and heavier. In order to manage the heaviest patients also, the RepoSheet can lift up to 500 kg (1,100 lbs).
But the RepoSheet can be used to advantage also for other patients, for instance, acutely sensitive patients, since the sheet distributes the pressure evenly over the entire body. For the personnel and the bariatric patients at Göransgården, it has been a real lift to be allowed to use the RepoSheet. This is partly because it reduces the physical load and partly because the personnel feel that they can do a better job taking care of their patients.
– We should have done this a long time ago, Ann-Viol concludes.