Rifton’s TRAM Competency Checklists

May 27, 2014 by Clare Stober

Two therapists using SPHM technique aid a patient in a Rifton TRAM as they smile at a guide dogSafe Patient Handling and Movement (SPHM) is becoming a byword for safety in nursing and rehab. Healthcare organizations are increasingly recognizing the crucial importance of developing and implementing programs that maintain the well-being of both caregivers and clients. This is because nurses and therapists are repeatedly involved in assisting patients in transfers or ambulation tasks that, because of the patient’s medical status, are often awkward and strenuous. Without the right supports or equipment you inevitably get injury for both caregiver and client.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has been a strong proponent of replacing manual patient handling with SPHM technology and zero-lift policies. In 2013, ANA published a groundbreaking guide to establish inter-professional national standards for SPHM. As an increasing number of healthcare organizations follow this lead we’re seeing the dissemination of SPHM best practices.

Obtaining transfer and gait training equipment (for example, the Rifton TRAM) to replace manual handling techniques is one of the requirements of the safe patient handling movement. But just as important as obtaining the equipment is providing staff training in its use. Without a concrete knowledge of the practical applications of the devices, healthcare workers will revert to familiar detrimental practice patterns and the new device will sit in storage and gather dust.

In settings such as acute care, sub-acute rehab and long-term care, SPHM program implementation includes the thorough training of therapists, nurses, aids and orderlies in the use of SPHM devices. Providers and equipment supply companies who are knowledgeable about SPHM devices are in the important position of training the facility staff who serve as the organization’s internal trainers or “super users.” Training tools and documentation help to assure complete practical knowledge of all device operators in these facilities.

In response to this growing SPHM movement Rifton has developed TRAM training tools and competency checklists. These can be downloaded and used in conjunction with any facility-based SPHM program.

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