Caring For Your Back
If you are a Carer looking after a friend or relative with restricted mobility, you may need to pay extra attention to looking after your own back, as your role is likely to involve manually lifting the person that you care for
As a carer, you may find you need to move or lift someone in less than ideal conditions, such as without equipment, alone, and in small spaces.
There is no such thing as perfect safety, and sometimes it is difficult or near impossible to adapt your surroundings to suit the caring role. However, it is important to look after yourself as much as you can, and reduce the risk of injury to yourself, and the one you are supporting.
BackCare have produced a wonderfully clear and easy to read guide to help Carers with safer moving and handling of people. Have a read through some of their key points below to find out more…
The Key Points to Consider When Assisting a Person to Move:
Once you have worked out how best to assist the person you care for to move and you have prepared the environment and any necessary equipment, the following factors will help you provide assistance more safely.
- Good communication is vital – Check that the person and anyone else assisting understands exactly what is going to happen.
- Think about your posture, your position, and how you move.
- Get in as close as you can to the person you are assisting – The further away the person is, the more strain you are likely to suffer.
- Relax your knees – this allows you to adjust your position as necessary and use your large leg muscles to provide the power for an assisted move.
- Adopt a balanced position – For example, in standing, feet apart or with one foot slightly forward.
- Use a secure and comfortable hold – Use your whole hand. Usually the best place for you to provide support is over the shoulder blades and hips.
- Pull in your stomach muscles before you move- these help support your back.
- Always avoid twisting, stooping, and side bending when possible.
- For upward movement, lead with the crown of your head- this will help keep your back in the correct natural ‘S’ shape position.
- Carry out the move in a controlled way – Moving in a slow and smooth manner can avoid straining the back, as well as making it more comfortable for the one you are assisting
The guide includes a useful 38 page A5 colour booklet and DVD. It covers many of the common ways of assisting someone. For example, clear instructions on how to assist someone to stand, sit, walk, climb stairs, and get in and out of vehicles. It also covers how to assist someone who is unwilling or unable to co-operate, using caring specific equipment safely and efficiently, and dealing with falls.
At Forward Carers, we also provide free training for family carers from First Aid training to Moving and Handling the Person Your Care For. Find out more below.