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Patient Moving and Handling Case Study #1

Patient Moving and Handling Case Study #1


Handicare Inc. (formerly Prism Medical Ltd) has the vision to change the way safe patient moving and handling is viewed and taught. From this vision emerged the "2011 Moving and Handling Residency", in partnership with the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and many valued community organizations and institutions. Throughout the eight-week residency, fourteen graduating Occupational Therapy students received intensive theory-based and hands-on moving and handling best practices education, and then went out into the community to educate clients, caregivers, and health care providers in the home and at health care facilities. Through this initiative, students met with over 300 individuals with diverse moving and handling needs. The following case study is inspired by these clients and their caregivers and reflects the broad spectrum of moving and handling issues that were seen and the solutions that were identified.


Case #1 – Matthew, 7 years old

The Client

Matthew is a lively, happy, seven-year-old boy, whose contagious smile lights up a room! Always the social butterfly, Matthew decided that he was ready to meet the world at 24 weeks gestation, and as a result of his premature delivery, he is now living with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Matthew currently lives with his family in a back-split home with multiple levels, and also has the support of a full-time nurse to help manage his medical needs.


The Issue

To date, Matthew’s caregivers have been manually lifting him. However, as Matthew grows and develops, transfers have become more physically demanding, and stressful for everyone involved. Matthew is G-tube fed and requires oxygen to help him breathe, therefore adding additional complexities to his moving and handling needs. Another consideration is that while Matthew sleeps and plays on the lower level of the back-split home, it is important to the family that they are together for meals at the kitchen table on the ground floor. Six steps separate these two floors of the house, and Matthew’s caregivers are currently carrying him up and down several times per day.


Moving and Handling Solution

Recognizing the risks of their current situation, Matthew’s parents have decided to invest in significant home modifications as well as moving and handling equipment. These changes will include the installation of two Handicare (Prism Medical) ceiling track lifts – one on the lower level of the home, and the second on the main floor, which will be used for transfers in and out of the supportive chair used at mealtime. In addition, a chair lift will be installed to move Matthew between the two levels of the home.

The family is very excited about these changes. In particular, safer and easier moving and handling using the appropriate equipment will be of tremendous value as Matthew starts school this fall!




  1. Morrison, Rachel. Moving and Handling Residency Case Studies. Prism Medical Ltd, 2011

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