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Perfecting the Prone Position
By adding a methodical, aviation-like checklist that focused on teamwork, we reduced repositioning and patient injuries.
Denise Lawyer
Publish Date: March 14, 2019   |  Tags:   Patient Safety
UP AND DOWN Our positioning protocol checks each pressure point along the way: first starting at the head and working our way down to the feet, and then starting at the feet and moving up to the head.   |   Lehigh Valley Health Network

We place many of our neuro patients in the prone position. Until recently, we were also re-positioning them in the prone position. Quite a bit. Not good. The more you move patients in prone, the more likely they'll suffer the adverse effects of poor positioning — post-op pain, brachial-plexus injuries to the shoulders, arms and hands, and, of course, skin breakdown and pressure ulcers.

In an effort to prevent this needless suffering, we took a step back and asked ourselves, "What are we doing wrong and how can we fix it?" What we came up with was a methodical, team-based system for preventing prone positioning injuries that you can apply to all types of surgical positioning. Here's a detailed breakdown of our approach.

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