Improving competency in safe patient handling practice through online learning beyond the classroom – a longitudinal study

Webb, J ORCID:, Hogg, P ORCID:, Twiste, M ORCID: and Correa, ES ORCID: 2022, 'Improving competency in safe patient handling practice through online learning beyond the classroom – a longitudinal study' , American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76 (2) , p. 7602205160.

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Importance Safe patient handling is intrinsic to healthcare provision; yet, educational provision of the skills for this are inconsistently delivered, without evidence that traditional face-to-face training reduces risk. Objective This study assesses the long-term effectiveness of replacing annual practical handling updates with an online training system, combined with competency assessment on levels of skill and safety. This is the largest study of its kind with undergraduate occupational therapy students. Design Quasi-experimental longitudinal three-year study to track practical people handling skill development in undergraduate occupational therapy students. All participants had access to a multimedia online training system (to replace tutor led practical training) used in combination with annual competency evaluations to measure skills and safety in four people handling tasks. Setting / participants Competency assessments took place with all participants (n = 243) at three data collection points at beginning of year 2 + 3 and end of Year 3. Outcomes / Measures Each participant attended an individual 45-minute competency evaluation, data collected using competency assessment tool by trained assessors. Results Results demonstrate significant increases in skill level for sit-to-stand and repositioning in the chair (p<0.05), hoisting and slide sheet manoeuvres (p<0.0001), with 100% safety scores achieved for repositioning in the chair and hoisting. Conclusions / relevance Students using the online system performed significantly better compared with previous students receiving traditional annual practical updates, providing an evidence base to reduce tutor-led training hours whilst increasing skills and safety levels utilizing a combination of the online system and competency assessment. What this article adds Results contribute to the evidence base supporting an alternative approach using an online moving and handling training system to improve skills, competence and safety whilst reducing time in delivering annual people handling updates. This approach was found to reinforce safe handling techniques, increase independence, competency, safety, of service users and carers working in health and social care environments, whilst reducing time spent delivering annual people-handling updates. Research findings may have potential to replace face-to-face training updates, particularly in the current climate of social distancing. Implications for occupational therapy rehabilitation • Active engagement with the online system and learning tools within it combined with regular “skill checking” encourages a learner centred, problem solving and reflective approach to practical skill development using a just in time approach. • Suitable for a range of qualified therapists and care givers for skill updates and continuing professional development. • The increased competency of participants will promote enablement, patient safety, tissue viability and harm free care with service users. • Reduction in associated training costs is possible by utilising an effective multimedia online moving and handling and risk assessment learning system combined with competency assessment approach.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: American Journal of Occupational Therapy
Publisher: American Occupational Therapy Association
ISSN: 0272-9490
Related URLs:
Depositing User: M Twiste
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 12:43
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 11:30

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