A UK business that specializes in the supply of safe patient lifting equipment to EMS agencies, has been leading the fight to keep people at home and out of hospital during the COVID 19 outbreak.

Mangar Health manufacture the ELK lifting cushion, designed to lift someone weighing up to 1,000 lbs with the assistance of just one EMT. The company has worked with Ambulance Services for many years and are now supplying equipment to EMS workers serving the new Nightingale COVID Field Hospital in London.

The #stayathome message has galvanised key decision makers in healthcare sectors globally to address the sustainability of EMS services while resources are being severely impacted by COVID 19.  Patients being routinely transported to hospitals to be ‘checked over just in case’ is no longer possible.  Health assessments in the home and lifting those who have fallen but are uninjured is becoming the norm, thereby reducing avoidable hospital admissions and the pressure on ambulance services.

Pressure on EMS resources because of COVID is already at breaking point (FDNY reported a 23% reduction in workforce due to sickness and quarantine last week) but these key workers face additional risk to their musculoskeletal health daily because of the repetitive nature of manual handling and lifting.  The rate of non-fatal injuries among EMTs and paramedics was found to be 34.6 per 100 full-time workers per year, a rate more than five times higher than the national average for all workers in the US.1

Mangar Health CEO Simon Claridge says; “The ELK is proven to reduce the risk of injury to EMTs because when used, very little moving and handling is required to lift the fallen person.  The  cost associated with musculoskeletal injury in healthcare workers in the US alone is $200 million annually.

“In the UK, The South West Ambulance Service reported a 10% decrease in sickness after introducing the ELK and a saving of $370,000 annually.  The statistics clearly demonstrate how safety protocols introduced now, protect workers tomorrow”.

At a time when ET3 is being widely discussed in EMS circles, the British system of treating at home when at all possible makes sense (which is the same as the Treat In Place (TIP) currently proposed as part of the next COVID Stimulus package).  At the best of times the elderly are vulnerable to hospital acquired pneumonia and fair better when able to remain in their own home. The opportunity to provide better quality care at home for a lower cost is a concept UK healthcare professionals have recognised and were implementing long before COVID 19.

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