Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, but if your question is not here please e mail me using the Contact Us page, and I will respond in 3 to 5 working days.

Q. What makes your approach to people handling training unique?

A. There are many companies offering people handling training which specify a particular format, however very few carers are injured due to a lack of knowledge of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. My approach is to focus on more practical based training that will aid staff within their work environments, and also emphasises a balanced approach that balances staff safety against the quality of life and dignity of the service user/client. This approach includes specific advice about how particular conditions impact on moving and handling such as strokes and cognitive impairments such as dementia. It also gives carers a wider scope to adapt techniques and posture to suit themselves and focuses on the reality and real scenarios often faced by care workers.

Q. What is the correct way to size a general purpose sling?

A. As general guidance the first measurement would be from the coccyx to the nape of the neck or shoulder, the sling measurement from the top of the aperture to the top of the sling should match this measurement. With head support measure from the coccyx to the crown of the head. Another useful measurement is from the back of the hip to the tip of the knee, this should match the length of the leg piece. (HOP 6 2011;176) See free download document.

Q. What if a client refuses to use a hoist?

A. This is never an easy scenario but unfortunately is becoming more common. An organisation must show that they have explored every viable option with regard to the clients needs. It is also important to assess the situation carefully, the client may be uncomfortable, have had a bad experience or may be in pain. This can often be a long process, carefully recorded and documented to show any reasoning behind a final decision.

Q. Why do staff need to be aware of a balanced approach?

A. Recent legal cases particularly East Sussex in 2003 resulted in a judgement that asked local authorities and other organisations to be aware that ‘blanket policies’ such as nurse from bed and no lifting policies may be considered to be unlawful when no thought was given to balancing decisions during the risk assessment process. There is often a distinct lack of knowledge applied to people handling risk management.

Q. How often should carers have refresher training on manual handling?

A. It is generally accepted that care workers should have an annual refresher, however this is conversant with the level of risk and more frequent training may be identified. This is not to say however that their should be a full six hour session every year, training may be based on the specific needs of the workplace and ability level of the delegates and delivered in different ways, providing it is documented accordingly.

Q. If my carers dont use hoists do I have to train them in the use of them?

A. The simple answer is no. If a worker were to change roles sometime later then it would be for a manager to identify this as a training need and then obtain the training accordingly. Teaching someone to use a hoist and then not utilising those skills for some time can lead to unsafe practices.

Q. Can we not just withdraw our services where clients or families are in disagreement with care providers?

A. The simple answer is no. An organisation should show that they have explored every viable option in maintaining a service and balancing needs of staff and service user/client before they make a final decision to withdraw services.

Q. If your training is practical based how do you follow current best practice and guidance with regard to legislation?

A. All of the training delivered is in line with current best practice and guidance from professional organisations and publications such as the National Back Exchange and Handling of People 5th and 6th Edition, however because emphasis is on the practical side of training the theory element is covered by means of a work book that can be completed after the course with managers or by managers themselves with the staff in things like supervision and appraisal.

Q. Why is it important to promote back care and the safe principles of manual handling within the training environment?

A. Manual handling injuries still continue to be a common problem within health and social care and yet still some care workers continue to take short cuts in order to reduce time. A recent article within the Column magazine (NBE’s quarterly publication) stated that health and social care workers particularly those who had been in the job for some time found manual handling training to be irrelevant as they had never had an injury during the course of their work. Complacency amongst care workers unfortunately exists and often they forget that a manual handling injury can render them disabled.

Q. Is there a right or wrong way within manual handling?

A. I believe too much emphasis is placed on whats right and wrong within manual handling practices, for example, don’t use 1, 2, 3 as a command. If it aint broken don’t fix it!! Some service users may be used to this command and if it works use it.

My training however DOES NOT advocate the use of controversial handling techniques but tries to encourage staff to look at the wider picture by placing more emphasis on good risk management.

Q. What do you teach staff with regard to service users/clients who may be prone to falls?

A. Different organisations will have differing views and policies on clients who may be prone to falls. I do not advocate any technique which may put staff at risk. Focus tends to be on the risk management process as good risk management is the key in preventing falls occurrence in the first place!

Q. What is involved within your Train the Trainer course?

A. This course moves away from the current formats of train the trainer training.

A 3, 4 or 5 day course does not necessarily equip staff to step into a training environment and comfortably deliver techniques and guidance to staff members.

Staff are also consciously aware of accountability and liability and many are often reluctant to place themselves into a trainer role. My focus is on the more practical side of delivery in order to build confidence and an understanding of why it is so important to promote back care in their establishments. In the current climate of budget cuts it also looks at how trainers can deliver the training in different ways to account for consistent service delivery, staffing issues, and budgets.