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Controversial Techniques

The Drag Lift (Under arm or Axilla Lift)

 This is the most common method of manually lifting a patient either in a
bed, a chair or from the floor.

A person is lifted with the handlers' hands or arms positioned under the
patient's axilla (armpit) or upper arm. Whilst usually carried out from the front,
it can be performed from the back.

Dangers to the person being lifted:

 Pain, soft tissue injury or even fracture of
the person's arm
 Development of pressure sores from
dragging, of sacrum, buttocks and/or heels
 Encourages feelings of helplessness as
person cannot assist in move
 Discourages normal movement, so
restricting independence and impeding

Dangers to handlers:

 Handler lifting in asymmetrical, stooped, twisted and side flexed

Other Controversial techniques include:
 The Orthodox Lift - the handlers are either
side of the person, facing each other and their
arms (or equipment) are positioned under the
person’s trunk and thighs.
 The Through Arm Lift - The person is lifted in
a slumped position by two handlers, grasping
the person’s forearms and under the upper
 The Australian (Shoulder) Lift - The person
is lifted in a seated position by two handlers
facing in the opposite direction to the person, with their shoulders close
to the person’s axilla and arms clasped under the upper thighs. The
person rests their hands on the handlers? Backs.
 Front Assisted Stand and Pivot Transfers (Bear Hug) - The person,
in a seated position, is either assisted into standing or transferred using
a pivot movement to another seated position, by a handler standing
directly in front.


Controversial Techniques (Continued)

All people moving and handling decisions should be made as a result of a risk
assessment and recorded on the patient handling profile.

If a decision is made to use a manual lifting technique this must be supported

by a thorough risk assessment and suitable and sufficient documentation to
support the decision.

Further details on the controversial techniques

and hazardous postures is accessible to all in
the Guide to the Handling of People 5th edition
(Blue Book). Available in all wards and

Wherever possible contact your MAST team

member if you require advice and support with
the handling of a person in your work area.

Specialist Equipment and Advice

All people handling equipment has a safe

working load (SWL). It is vital that staff are
aware of the SWL of the equipment they
are using and the weight of the people
being moved.

There are several powered beds within the

Trust that have a SWL of 250 kgs or above
(approx. 40 stone). These are a Trust
resource and need to be shared amongst
wards on a risk assessment basis. The
Trust has now purchased a bariatric bed
with a SWL of 500kgs (70 stone). This includes an integral weighing scale too.
If you think you may require access to this bed please contact the BCAT or
out of hours the switchboard to access the health and safety manager on call.

The Back Care Advisory Team (BCAT) manages the Trust's resource of
large, heavyweight equipment including a mobile hoist (SWL 250kgs) extra
large commodes, wheelchairs and patient chairs.
Advice and support on moving and handling issues and equipment provision
can be accessed out of standard working hours by contacting switchboard.

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