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      Patient Transfers and Risk of Back Injury: Protocol for a Prospective Cohort Study With Technical Measurements of Exposure


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          More than one third of nurses experience musculoskeletal pain several times during a normal work week. Consistent use of assistive devices during patient transfers is associated with a lower risk of occupational back injuries and low back pain (LBP). While uncertainties exist regarding which type of assistive devices most efficiently prevent LBP, exposure assessments using technological advancements allow for quantification of muscle load and body positions during common work tasks.


          The main objectives of this study are (1) to quantify low back and neck/shoulder muscle load in Danish nurses during patient transfers performed with different types of assistive devices, and (2) to combine the exposure profile for each type of assistive device with fortnightly questionnaires to identify the importance of muscle load (intensity and frequency of transfers) and body position (degree of back inclination and frequency) on LBP intensity and risk of back injury during a patient transfer.


          A combination of technical measurements (n=50) and a prospective study design (n=2000) will be applied on a cohort of female nurses in Danish hospitals. The technical measurements will be comprised of surface electromyography and accelerometers, with the aim of quantifying muscle load and body positions during various patient transfers, including different types of assistive devices throughout a workday. The study will thereby gather measurements during real-life working conditions. The prospective cohort study will consist of questionnaires at baseline and 1-year follow-up, as well as follow-up via email every other week for one year on questions regarding the frequency of patient transfers, use of assistive devices, intensity of LBP, and back injuries related to patient transfers. The objective measurements on muscle load and body positions during patient handlings will be applied to the fortnightly replies regarding frequency of patient transfer and use of different assistive devices, in order to identify risk factors for back injuries related to patient transfers and intensity of LBP.


          Data collection is scheduled to commence during the winter of 2017.


          The design of this study is novel in its combination of technical measurements applied on a prospective cohort, and the results will provide important information about which assistive devices are associated with intensity of LBP and risk of back injury related to patient transfers. Furthermore, this study will shed light on the dose-response relationship between intensity, duration, and frequency of patient transfers and the intensity of LPB in Danish nurses, and will thereby help to guide and improve electronic health practices among this population.

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          Most cited references35

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          Development of recommendations for SEMG sensors and sensor placement procedures.

          The knowledge of surface electromyography (SEMG) and the number of applications have increased considerably during the past ten years. However, most methodological developments have taken place locally, resulting in different methodologies among the different groups of users.A specific objective of the European concerted action SENIAM (surface EMG for a non-invasive assessment of muscles) was, besides creating more collaboration among the various European groups, to develop recommendations on sensors, sensor placement, signal processing and modeling. This paper will present the process and the results of the development of the recommendations for the SEMG sensors and sensor placement procedures. Execution of the SENIAM sensor tasks, in the period 1996-1999, has been handled in a number of partly parallel and partly sequential activities. A literature scan was carried out on the use of sensors and sensor placement procedures in European laboratories. In total, 144 peer-reviewed papers were scanned on the applied SEMG sensor properties and sensor placement procedures. This showed a large variability of methodology as well as a rather insufficient description. A special workshop provided an overview on the scientific and clinical knowledge of the effects of sensor properties and sensor placement procedures on the SEMG characteristics. Based on the inventory, the results of the topical workshop and generally accepted state-of-the-art knowledge, a first proposal for sensors and sensor placement procedures was defined. Besides containing a general procedure and recommendations for sensor placement, this was worked out in detail for 27 different muscles. This proposal was evaluated in several European laboratories with respect to technical and practical aspects and also sent to all members of the SENIAM club (>100 members) together with a questionnaire to obtain their comments. Based on this evaluation the final recommendations of SENIAM were made and published (SENIAM 8: European recommendations for surface electromyography, 1999), both as a booklet and as a CD-ROM. In this way a common body of knowledge has been created on SEMG sensors and sensor placement properties as well as practical guidelines for the proper use of SEMG.
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            Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: the epidemiologic evidence and the debate.

            The debate about work-relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) reflects both confusion about epidemiologic principles and gaps in the scientific literature. The physical ergonomic features of work frequently cited as risk factors for MSDs include rapid work pace and repetitive motion, forceful exertions, non-neutral body postures, and vibration. However, some still dispute the importance of these factors, especially relative to non-occupational causes. This paper addresses the controversy with reference to a major report recently commissioned by the US Congress from the National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2001). The available epidemiologic evidence is substantial, but will benefit from more longitudinal data to better evaluate gaps in knowledge concerning latency of effect, natural history, prognosis, and potential for selection bias in the form of the healthy worker effect. While objective measures may be especially useful in establishing a more secure diagnosis, subjective measures better capture patient impact. Examination techniques still do not exist that can serve as a "gold standard" for many of the symptoms that are commonly reported in workplace studies. Finally, exposure assessment has too often been limited to crude indicators, such as job title. Worker self-report, investigator observation, and direct measurement each add to understanding but the lack of standardized exposure metrics limits ability to compare findings among studies. Despite these challenges, the epidemiologic literature on work-related MSDs-in combination with extensive laboratory evidence of pathomechanisms related to work stressors-is convincing to most. The NRC/IOM report concluded, and other reviewers internationally have concurred, that the etiologic importance of occupational ergonomic stressors for the occurrence of MSDs of the low back and upper extremities has been demonstrated.
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              Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders for Nurses in Hospitals, Long-Term Care Facilities, and Home Health Care: A Comprehensive Review.

              The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and reported injuries for nurses and nursing aides.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                November 2017
                08 November 2017
                : 6
                : 11
                : e212
                [1] 1 Department of Musculoskeletal Disorders National Research Centre for the Working Environment Copenhagen Denmark
                [2] 2 Department of Health Science and Technology Physical Activity and Human Performance Group, SMI Aalborg University Aalborg Denmark
                [3] 3 The Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Florida, FL United States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Jonas Vinstrup jonasvinstrup@ 123456gmail.com
                Author information
                ©Jonas Vinstrup, Pascal Madeleine, Markus Due Jakobsen, Kenneth Jay, Lars Louis Andersen. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 08.11.2017.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 10 July 2017
                : 30 August 2017
                : 13 September 2017
                : 13 September 2017

                nurse,low back pain,electromyography,assistive devices,pain,hospital


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