Safe patient handling education: analysis from European higher education institutions
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Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland (Faculty of Health and Well-Being, New Ways of Promoting Performance Research Group)
University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, Vic, Spain (Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare, Research Group on Methodology, Methods, Models and Outcomes of Health and Social Sciences (M3O))
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland (Faculty of Health and Well-Being)
Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, Setubal, Portugal (Department of Physiotherapy)
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania (Department of Health Promotion and Rehabilitation)
Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu, Finland (School of Health and Social Care)
Ergosolutions BC Oy Ab, Turku, Finland
Online publication date: 2022-07-11
Corresponding author
Marion Karppi   

Turku University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Well-Being, New Ways of Promoting Performance Research Group, Joukahaisenkatu 3, 20580 Turku, Finland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(5):615-23
Objectives: According to current research, patient handling is not universally taught in academic nursing programs in Europe. Miscellaneous patient handling education may expose students and novice health care workers to occupational hazards, especially if the evidence-based contents of safe patient handling are not recognized. Health care workers deal with high physical workloads daily, which points out the importance of evidence-based curricula contents from the early phases of education. The aim of this study was to describe the patient handling education and to analyse the differences in curricula among higher education institutions (HEIs) in Europe. Material and Methods: The study used a cross-sectional design and was conducted in HEIs educating health care professionals in Europe. The data was collected through a Webropol questionnaire consisting of structured and open-ended questions. Results: Only 68.4% of the respondents stated that they have a framework that guides the patient handling education. Additionally, some answers referred to guidelines that are not adequate to be referred to as evidence-based guidelines on patient handling. There is variation in emphasizing workplace safety and risk assessment issues in the curricula, and variation in teaching of assistive aids. Conclusions: Currently the patient handling education in the studied HEIs does not meet the requirements of evidence-based practice. The establishment of a European-wide framework, including both theoretical and practical training for safe patient handling is needed. The inclusion of risk assessment and workplace safety issues is essential to improve the risk management knowledge and skills and further avoid work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(5):615–23
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