The following article features coverage from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

Air-assisted technology is a safe and feasible way to reposition immobile patients, reducing potential injury to both nurses and patients, according to research being presented at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Conference.

There is a significant risk of injury when transferring patients from bed to stretcher; previous findings from a medical intensive care unit reported having up to 8 patient repositioning-related events, leading to both significant injury and cost of treatment.

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A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) led team of investigators evaluated the effects of using the lateral transfer device that implements air assisted technology on 43 patients compared with the traditional sheet draw method over 6 weeks. The rate of staff injury and pressure injury events was tracked, and the staff’s perceived physical exertion when repositioning the patient was assessed by the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

Results showed that there were no instances of sacral/coccyx injuries, which are responsible for nearly 50% of unit acquired pressure injuries, or new nurse injuries by the end of the study. RPE evaluation showed that there was a 91% greater perceived exertion when using the traditional method vs air-assisted technology.

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Eighty-two percent of the study participants recommended the new system over current practice.

The authors concluded that “nurses feel better able to prevent injury to both themselves and the patient.  A longer pilot of the device is needed to determine long-term effects on pressure injury and staff injury rates.”


Weaver KJ. Be smooth be safe: a CNS led intervention to decrease patient handling injuries and reduce pressure injuries using air assisted technology. Oral presentation at: NACNS 2018 Annual Conference; February 28-March 3, 2018; Austin, TX.