Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1994;20(6):427-434    pdf


Effect of individually chosen bed-height adjustments on the low-back stress of nurses.

by de Looze MP, Zinzen E, Caboor D, Heyblom P, van Bree E, van Roy P, Toussaint HM, Clarijs JP

OBJECTIVES The effects of height-adjustable beds in hospitals on the subsequent prevalence of low-back problems among nurses depend on the capacity to reduce low-back stress by bed-height adjustment. This capacity was investigated in the present study.

METHODS Professional nurses performed patient-handling tasks at a standard and an individually chosen bed height. Peak values and time integrals of spinal compression and shear forces were estimated with dynamic biomechanical modeling.

RESULTS The bed-height adjustment led to lower values of time-integrated compression (average 8.8% lower), peak shear force (average 9.3% lower), and time-integrated shear force (average 18.1% lower). No significance was found for the effect on peak compression, nor for the results for each individual task. This finding can be explained by the minor adjustments made in comparison with the standard height or by the application of different criteria for bed-height adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS The decreasing time-integrated forces and peak shear force, without a concomitant rise of peak compression, speak in favor of the use of height-adjustable beds in nursing.