In October, the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) was proud to publish the second edition of the “Patient Handling and Movement Assessments (PHAMA)” white paper. In the nine years since FGI published the first PHAMA white paper, much has changed in how health care views patient handling and mobility.

Health care organizations are now recognizing that implementing a safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) program goes beyond improving workplace safety. In addition to preventing caregiver injuries, an SPHM program can enhance quality of life for patients and caregivers, improve patient outcomes by supporting early and frequent mobilization, and help prevent costly adverse events related to manual patient handling.

The goal of revising the PHAMA — now titled “Patient Handling and Mobility Assessments” to recognize the importance of mobilizing all patients as early and often as possible — was to provide updated information about requirements in the 2018 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction documents that support safe patient handling and mobility. The second edition also provides updated information on developing a business plan and expanded guidance and tools to help organizations design and implement SPHM programs appropriate for patients and staff.

Mary W. Matz, MSPH, CPE, CSPHP, a primary author of the first edition white paper, is the principal author of the second edition. She is a board-certified ergonomist experienced in SPHM technology and design requirements as well as program implementation, maintenance and cost-benefit analysis. She spent more than 15 years developing, implementing and overseeing the Veterans Health Administration’s highly successful national SPHM program in more than 150 facilities.

We hope designers and owners will use the revised PHAMA white paper to facilitate acceptance of SPHM principles in their projects and help increase patient and staff safety and improve the quality of patient care.

The second edition of the PHAMA white paper can be downloaded from the FGI website (www.fgiguidelines.org) free of charge, thanks to the support of Hillrom.