Patient handling risk assessment: first steps applying Intervention Evaluation Tool in Portuguese hospitals

Since Portugal was one of the four countries participating in the first trial of IET, now IET is being tested in order to assess if it is a usable and efficient measurement tool in Portuguese hospitals. The IET is a single comprehensive measurement device for the risks of patient handling including organizational management factors. In this study the IET was applied in 8 wards with a sample of 126 nurses. The results showed that nurses perceived the organizational commitment as neutral on average. With respect to the musculoskeletal complaints during the last 12 months, 66,9% of the nurses referred them as low back problems, 45,2% at the neck, 39,5% at the dorsal spine and 35,5% at shoulder region, but these troubles didn’t prevent them from carrying out the normal activities. The incident reporting system is feeble and 43% of the nurses reported that they needed to use, or had seen, a patient handling method considered to be dangerous, in the last month and completed, or had seen, a patient handling task without equipment when it was prescribed. The satisfaction level was good but 63,9% of the nurses perceived time pressure. The observation of patient handling transfers showed an acceptable level of competence and compliance, but none of the wards had specific handling plans. In general, patients’ perception about their safety and comfort during the transfers was satisfactory.