It is worldwide recognized that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent one of the main causes of injury among healthcare workers. MSDs occur especially when workers overexert themselves and perform repetitive tasks, such as handling the patients for lifting, pushing or pulling them. These movements are required for assisting patients to reposition inside the bed and transferring patients from bed to bed or from bed to wheelchair and vice versa.

The SAFE-MOVER project has the ambition to foster major breakthroughs in the improvement of patient-handling conditions both for healthcare workers and patients. The SAFE-MOVER project aims at investigating the main causes for musculoskeletal disorders in nurses, caregivers, and health workers in hospitals and clinical settings due to patient handling, and developing a new technology based on a user-centred approach for significantly reducing the risk and prevent the onset of such disorders while taking care of the patients’ perspective and their needs for physical and social interaction with human operators.

Main objectives

The main objectives pursued by the SAFE-MOVER project are

  • to quantitative evaluate the aspects recommended in the ISO/TR 12296 (Manual handling of people in the healthcare sector), such as the risks for the caregivers, the work organization during patient handling tasks and the effectiveness of the intervention
  • to improve caregivers’ working conditions by decreasing the risk for biomechanical overload, limiting work-related illness and injury, and the consequent absenteeism and costs
  • to ensure patients’ quality of care, safety, dignity and privacy while continuing to meet their needs, including personal care and hygiene.

Moving patients is a task that requires a huge effort and increases the risks for nurses of musculoskeletal disorders. To promote safe patient handling and to prevent related injuries, lifting technologies have been introduced in health care settings

The SAFE-MOVER project has the ambition to go beyond the current state of the art and overcome the limits of the current patient handling technological devices by proposing a single system that can be adopted for transferring the patient from a bed to another bed (or litter) and for repositioning the patient inside the bed.
In order to encourage the use of robotic handling technologies, the design of the new device will strongly consider the caregivers and patients perspective through a user-centered design. The new device will also cope with the crucial factors of reducing the physical load and avoiding movements that cause large, instantaneous or cumulative spinal loading, being easy to use, comfortable for the user and safe.