Before you move any one or any thing ask;
- Is there enough space? Are there obstacles in the way?
- Do I have the equipment I need?
- How much can the person do for themselves to help you?
- Is there anyone else available who could help?
- Are you feeling strong and well today? If you have had little sleep or are unwell yourself the risk increases and you should take extra precautions. If possible reduce the amount of moving and handling you have to do.
- How is the person you are moving and handling today? If they are tired, anxious or unwell this may affect their ability to assist you.
- Can you bring the task to the person rather than take the person to the task? For example place a bowl of water for washing on a table beside the person rather than attempting to walk to a narrow bathroom with little space to get washed.
- Are you both ready to move? Does the person know where they are moving to and when so your movements are coordinated.?
- How much help does the person actually need? They may need a prompt to start the movement but once standing they may just need close supervision rather than a lot of physical contact. If the person is highly dependent consider using equipment even if this slows down the process. It is better to do two controlled movements safely than one rushed movement which is unsafe and could potentially have consequences for both of you.
- Do you both have fitting shoes on or suitable clothing for the task?
- Know your limits. If you don’t feel safe or confident you are unlikely to succeed.
- Do you have a back up plan if you start the movement but cannot complete it?
All the tips above are about assessing the risk in your own situation. This is before you have even attempted the move. You should do this regularly each time you are about to move or handle someone who needs your help. They will feel safer and you will be less likely to be injured. If in doubt, slow down and think the problem through first. Explain what you are going to do and how you are going to do it so you are both ready.
There may be times when it is impossible for you to move or handle the person safely and you will need to get help. Do not put yourself at risk.