21 Years of EDGE Services

On 5th November 21 years ago, I delivered EDGE Services first ever training course to a domiciliary care agency based in West Yorkshire. Ten, keen to learn delegates, were all seeing this brand-new collection of small manual handling aids for the first time including slide sheets, turntables, bed blocks etc.

It was a time of real change in the care industry, the manual handling legislation was still in its infancy and employers were waking up to their responsibilities to their staff and clients to keep them as free from harm as possible when undertaking moving and handling activities. I remember at least two of the attending delegates who had worked as care workers for several years had long-term back problems and could see the benefits immediately of the equipment I was showing them. Other, younger delegates said that they worried it would take too long - a concern all manual handling trainers still hear regularly to this day!
I recall trying to make the legislation interesting (nothing has changed much there!) and reeling off some scary statistics about the prevalence of back injuries among nurses which had the impact I was looking for from my delegates - their attention! The practical session was peppered with lots of questions from delegates and anecdotes from myself and the time went quickly. At the end of the session I was very pleased and relieved to get positive feedback from all those attending. This domiciliary care agency booked several further training sessions and became one of our largest clients for some time.
Shortly after this, EDGE embarked on a nationwide marketing campaign and soon I was delivering training in Stirling, London, Manchester and even further afield, which is when we bought other trainers on to help manage the increasing workload as well as administrative support to answer the phones and manage bookings.
Things have changed quite dramatically in the intervening 21 years within people moving and handling circles.
Hoists, now a staple of any care organisation, were infrequently seen 21 years ago. New legislation such as the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations have come into force tightening up the requirements to use all equipment safely. Factors such as ‘single-handed care packages’ and managing the movement of morbidly obese clients are relatively recent issues with new equipment being developed all the time to help here.
Special needs schools rarely undertook moving and handling training with us in the 1990s but are now more aware of their own risks and, thankfully, equipment with children in mind has developed over the years. These schools do undertake this training now and we are able to take specific equipment to show them how risks can be reduced.
The UK economy has boomed and busted in this same time period also massively impacting on care and education organisations training and equipment budgets. It will be fascinating to see how the next 21 years pan out - will we still be using the same equipment, or will things have changed dramatically again?
My prediction is that the issues with handling the morbidly obese clients will lessen but that we will be dealing with more issues of challenging behaviours as cases of dementia increase across the world. I think more people as they age, will be cared for in their own homes, but that the houses people live in will be smaller and less able to accommodate mobile hoists so we are likely to see many more cases of ceiling track or gantry mounted hoists. I think there will be many more complex care clients being cared for by one care worker and that new equipment will be developed to accommodate this change.
Only time will tell as to whether any of these predictions will come true. In the meantime I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to everybody who has trained with EDGE over the past 21 years - there are thousands of you out there, and I am eternally grateful that you have played a part in this journey with me. Best wishes to you all.
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