Alberta Health Services ambulances across the province will soon be equipped with power stretchers and load systems. They use a battery-powered hydraulic system to lift patients on stretchers, which the government says will mean safer conditions for paramedics.
“Alberta paramedics dedicate their work every day to saving lives,” says Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne. “We want to make sure they can perform their jobs without risk of injury. Installing this new lift technology will mean a safer workplace for paramedics, by helping protect them from work-related physical strain and injury.”
Eight electronic lifts were installed in inter-facility transfer vehicles in 2015 as part of a pilot project, and AHS says no lift-injuries were reported by staff using the new equipment. Over the same 18-month time frame, 84 patient-handling injuries were reported by EMS staff using vehicles without the lifts.
“Repetitive lifting is one of the leading causes of injuries to EMS practitioners,” says EMS chief paramedic Darren Sandbeck. “The new power stretchers and lift system will reduce the frequency of front-line crews having to physically lift patients in and out of ambulances, reducing the risk of injuries.”
$20 million is being invested to equip all current ground ambulances, and the system will be standard on all new ones. The goal is to have all done by spring 2018.