Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Public Health


Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Douglas Myers

Committee Co-Chair

Weimin Gao

Committee Member

Kimberly Rauscher

Committee Member

Kathleen Rockefeller

Committee Member

Anna Allen


Introduction - Patient mobility performed in the hospital setting places healthcare workers at high risk for WMSDs. The healthcare industry has responded through the creation of SPHM programs that are successful in reducing work-related injuries broadly. However, less is known about the distinct experiences of rehabilitation professionals. Therefore, an in depth exploration of the perceptions, participation, and needs pertaining to lift equipment usage among rehabilitation professionals was performed.

Methods – A qualitative case study approach explored this bounded system. Six focus groups were conducted with 25 members of the rehabilitation team and three interviews were conducted with key administrative personnel. In addition, administrative documents related to the SPHM program were reviewed. Focus groups and interviews were recorded and de-identified transcripts and program documents were analyzed for emergent themes.

Results - Rehabilitation professionals were broadly supportive of SPHM programs. Participants provided suggestions for improvements to lift equipment to best fit within their patient mobility goals. They also denied work-related injuries but described experiencing work-related pain that they chose to self-manage. A dedicated SPHM training department and budgeting program and the performance of lift equipment audits were described as key administrative components.

Conclusion - Manufacturers should consider the equipment modifications suggested to maximize work safety. When measuring these program effects, injury records should not be used but rather information gained directly from the workers. SPHM administration should include an equipment audit process as well as a training program and budgeting program housed outside of each unit for program success and longevity.