Understanding your body and knowing proper body mechanics prolongs the use of muscles and can decrease the chance of injury. Recently, two North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) Rehabilitation team members spoke to area school paraprofessionals about body mechanics at the Ozarks Unlimited Resource Educational Co-Op.
Brittany Martin, ATC, DPT and NARMC’s Interim Director of Rehabilitation Services, and Janice Zerbe, Physical Therapy Assistant, focused on how to transfer students from wheelchairs to other surfaces properly.
"Understanding proper body mechanics with not only transfers, but any task that involves lifting, pulling or pushing will save a person's body from injury,” Martin said. “The majority of people are not aware of how valuable small changes can be for the safety of the spine. That is why presentations like this one are such a valuable resource for our community.”
Martin and Zerbe taught the paraprofessionals to use the acronym, PIE- positioning, information and equipment. They reminded the paraprofessionals to make sure they are positioned correctly. Martin recommended using the technique, abdominal hollowing and lifting from their legs when transferring a student. They were also encouraged to make sure everyone around them is informed on how to facilitate a transfer and to have the equipment needed available, such as a gate belt or slide board.
“I learned how to effectively move clients without hurting my back,” Community Health Nurse Coordinator Libby Seftar, RN, said. “Essentially we were taught how to save your back. What I learned here today is a tremendous help.”
A total of thirty paraprofessionals were in the audience over the course of two days. For many, including CNA Kerrie Freeman with the Deere/Mount Judy School District, the hour presentation included new techniques that they are able to use when they return to school.
Martin and Zerbe demonstrated correct transfers and allowed paraprofessionals to practice as well.
“I hope the attendees walked away with the tools needed to perform their job the safest way they can, which is important for both them and their students," Martin added.