Conference promotes safer handling practices

Sessions are both scientific and practical

A safe patient handling program can start with selection of appropriate equipment, a plan for implementation, and a core group of trained employees. You can get those elements at the upcoming Safe Patient Handling & Movement Conference, to be held in Tampa, FL, Feb. 27-March 3.

The conference is sponsored by the patient safety center of the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The conference offers both scientific presentations and opportunities for hands-on learning.

For example, it could be a venue to train patient handling coaches who will then train other employees. They would have the opportunity to try out equipment at vendor exhibits and to tour existing safe patient handling programs in action at the VA hospital and Tampa General Hospital.

A record number of participants are expected at the conference, including international researchers, says Mary Matz, MSPH, the VA hospital's administration patient care ergonomics consultant.

Nurses at the conference have even influenced manufacturers to develop new types of lift equipment, she says. "The industry has been very, very receptive to suggestions," she says.

This year's conference will include sessions on bariatric and other special needs, cost justification of programs, and best practices. More information is available at