This procedure applies to any form of assisting or supporting people to move, sit or stand whether they are physically lifted or not and includes repositioning in a bed or chair, transferring from one place to another, getting in and out of a car or other form of transport and moving into or out of equipment designed to help them move.

1. Principles

It should be recognised that people who need assistance to move may feel very sensitive about this and should have their dignity respected, be shown empathy and treated as an individual with unique needs. As far as possible, they should be in control of what is happening. Staff should explain what they are doing or are about to do and should ask for the person’s views and preferences.

Although there may be times when physical, manual assistance is necessary, this should be kept to a minimum as there are risks to the safety of both the staff member and the person they are attempting to help. Whenever possible, an assessment for aids and equipment should be carried out by either an Occupational Therapist or a Moving and Handling Advisor and the most appropriate equipment for that individual provided and used.

The risks associated with moving and handling must be assessed. If the risk assessment shows that two people are needed to assist someone to move, at least one of them should have been trained and should oversee the practice of the other.

Staff who help people to move must receive training as soon as possible which covers how to keep themselves safe, moving and handling techniques and the use of any equipment provided. If someone has not been trained, their practice must be directed and overseen by someone who has.

Staff are legally required to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and have a duty of care to maintain the health and safety of anyone they are providing a service to. In practice this means:

  • Raising concerns about perceived risk;
  • Assisting with the assessment of risk;
  • Complying with risk assessments.

2. Procedural Steps

Step Action By Whom
1. If a person needs any assistance to move in any situation, a risk assessment should be carried out using the positive risk taking format. If this shows anything more than minimal support (for example an arm to lean upon when walking) is needed or if equipment is needed, a specific moving and handling assessment and/or equipment assessment should be requested from a Moving and Handling Advisor or an Occupational Therapist. These must be regularly reviewed and repeated as necessary. Senior staff member
2. If equipment or specific techniques are needed to help someone to move, then training must be provided. This can be given directly by the person providing the equipment or recommending the techniques or by attendance at a formal training course. If a staff member has not yet been trained, they must be instructed and supervised by someone who has. In practice, this means that if someone has not yet been trained, they must only assist people to move in partnership with someone who has. All staff
3. Staff are required to comply with the findings of the risk assessment and with any directions it contains about how to help someone move. If the person is unwilling to comply, staff should not deviate from the directions given but should attempt to persuade the person to comply. If the person refuses, staff should not give assistance to move. If this places the person at risk, for example of discomfort or skin problems, this should be explained to the person reported to a senior staff member and carefully recorded. Further assessment and negotiation with the person by a Moving and Handling Advisor or Occupational Therapist must then be requested. All staff
4. If a person appears to lack the mental capacity to consent to or make choices about assistance to move, they must be assessed under the MCA (see Assessing Mental Capacity: Guidance). If that shows they do not have mental capacity, then decisions must be made which are in their best interests. The procedure for making best interest decisions should be followed. Senior staff member
5. If equipment has been provided to assist someone to move, it should be checked annually by a competent person for safety. Large pieces of equipment such as a hoist must have a servicing schedule which is adhered to. In addition, all equipment should be checked visually prior to each use and if a piece of equipment is damaged it should not be used. All staff
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