Safe Patient Handling initiatives are all about working smarter to prevent unnecessary injuries to caregivers and the patients in their care. In support of these efforts, exam table manufacturers can incorporate a tremendous amount of ergonomic ingenuity into power tables for procedure and exam rooms. All these ergonomic advancements work in unison to help you set new standards in safe patient handling. So, just what does it take to reach such a standard?

ADA-compliant seat heights facilitate patient transitions.

If you want to talk safe patient handling, the American Disabilities Act is a great place to start. Patient transfers to-and-from wheelchairs are documented to carry a high potential risk for falls and associated injuries to patients and staff. As a result, exam and procedure tables that comply with ADA guidelines for low seat height, facilitate confident patient transfers. This is why many power exam tables feature an ADA-compliant seat height (usually around 18 inches) in the seated position. And power procedure tables feature an ADA-compliant seat height, as well.

Unique configuration enables more fully supported self-transitions.

When you shop for an exam table, make sure you choose one that maintains the backrest in the full upright position at the low seat height of 18”. Additionally, look for one that includes safety grab bars so that your patients can be surrounded with three-sided support during transfers.

How much difference can that make? Think about it. You have a patient with mobility issues that could range from a broken leg, to arthritis and severe obesity. They go to transition from a wheelchair to the exam table. If they aren’t well supported on all sides as they move, they are more likely to lose their balance. Even if it’s only for a moment, that imbalance can lead to a fall. And if the caregiver sees the patient waiver, their natural reaction is going to be to lean in to help. That can create additional issues as everyone is off balance.

This configuration helps enhance a patient’s sense of dignity and independence, while self-supported transfers help safeguard the health of caregivers. Underestimate the value of this ergonomic advancement during your equipment selection process and it could result in lower patient satisfaction scores and easily avoidable workers compensation claims.

Touch controls minimize physical interaction.

Your power exam table or procedure table should feature touch controls to minimize the caregiver’s physical interaction. Choose an exam table model with a power backrest and the caregiver can transition the patient from the seated position to examination position without any physical lifting of the patient. The table does the work, so the caregiver doesn’t have to put his or her lifting muscles at risk.

The power procedure table, such as our AssistPRO Power Procedure Table, can even feature programmable controls, allowing you to pre-program your four most frequently needed positions. This allows quick, effortless transitions for everything from Supine, to Left Lateral Plane, Lithotomy and Proctology positions. And a tilt range of up to 30° enables true Trendelenburg positioning.

Higher weight capacities accommodate a broader range of patients.

Power exam tables are available with up to 700-lb. weight capacities. This makes it possible to accommodate bariatric patients without having to bring in specialized lift equipment, a dedicated lift team, or direct them to a different location.

At the same time, caregivers enjoy all the lift-free advantages of the exam table features. So now, you can safeguard caregivers without having to disrupt standard procedures or hinder throughput.

Safety switches help prevent injuries to staff and patients.

Last, but certainly not least on the checklist are safety switches. These are the cutoff sensors that instantly stop table movement if any impediment is detected. Think of them as the auto-return feature on a garage door that prevents the power of the door from crushing something that accidentally gets in its path.

The power of these tables saves an incredible amount of wear and tear on the muscles of caregivers. And safety switches help keep hands, feet and other body parts protected from unintended consequences. Look for these switches on the underside of the table, the back of the base of the table and on the seat back to provide as much built in safety as possible for staff and patients throughout your routine tasks.

At first glance, the importance of any one of these features may not jump out at you. But when you integrate them all into a single solution, the cumulative effects can be extraordinary.

For more information about how Brewer power exam and procedure tables can help you set a new standard in Safe Patient Handling, visit our power exam table page.

Want to read more? Download our safe patient handling educational guide.