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Moving and Handling the Elderly in a Residential Environment

Elderly Care and Assisted Handling

Due to the frailty often encountered in the elderly, including but not limited to brittle bones, bed sores, diabetic ulceration, tendency towards bruising (poor skin integrity) and other injury causing conditions; moving the elderly does require clear risk assessment, manual handling policy, monitoring and regular reviews and training.

If you are a nursing home requiring support to build a comprehensive handling policy or need to identify the risks associated with moving or transferring for not only patient safety but also the safety of nursing staff Silvalea can provide you with help, support and tailored sling/hoist training. Training which can be live-streamed from Silvalea’s Global Training studio directly to desktop so that you can better manage staff absence and training down time. These training sessions can be specifically tailored into a number of one-hour sessions for your further convenience.

Silvalea have collated the following information based on NHS, HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and government advice alongside their own experience in sling assessment training and the manufacture of patient transfer devices for the elderly. This information whilst not exhaustive should provide you with understanding of the current requirements.

Successfully Managing Risk in a Residential Environment

All care homes should have a clear statement of policy for the moving, handling and assisted moving of patients. This policy should be supported by upper management and regularly monitored to ensure it has been implemented.

The Health and Safety Executive recommends that a policy of this nature should include these key elements:

1.     Recognition of the risks

2.     Commitment to introducing precautions to reduce risks

3.     A statement of clear roles and responsibilities

4.     An explanation of what is expected from individual employees

5.     Arrangements for training and providing/maintaining equipment

6.     Arrangements for monitoring compliance

7.     A commitment to supporting people who have been injured in connection with their work


Silvalea use the following six simple statements to help remember key elements of ‘safety in moving and handling’ for training purposes.

Employers should AVOID, ASSESS and APPLY.

Employees should FOLLOW, INFORM and CARE.


Employers must reduce risk of injury to staff and the people using care services by carrying out the following:

1.     AVOID

Avoiding manual handling tasks that could result in injury where reasonably practical

2.     ASSESS

Assess risks from moving and handling patients that cannot be avoided

3.     APPLY

Apply measures to reduce risk where reasonably practical


Employees must acknowledge and adhere to the following measures:

1.     FOLLOW

Follow appropriate systems of work and use provided equipment fit for purpose

2.     INFORM

Co-operate with employers and report any issues, problems or defective equipment

3.     CARE

All employees are responsible for taking reasonable care to ensure that their actions do not put themselves or others at risk 


Summary of the Main Elements of the Manual Handling of Loads Regulation

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, Chapter 4 of Part 2 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007), also known as the Manual Handling of Loads Regulation, outline the requirements that must be fulfilled in relation to manual handling.

‘Manual handling of loads is defined in the Regulation and includes any lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load which, by reason of its characteristics or unfavorable ergonomic conditions, involves risk, particularly of back injury, to employees.

The basic principle enshrined in Part 2 is that where manual handling of loads involving a risk of injury (particularly to the back) is present, the employer must take measures to avoid or reduce the risk of injury.’