Review: DLF Conference – Moving and Handling People 2018

It was the 24th annual conference to be held in London and this year had a special focus on promoting vigilance in identifying manual handling risks, suggesting ways in which these can be minimised, and promoting a culture of organisational excellence.

In his plenary session Michael Mandelstam emphasised how legislation impacts on the moving and handling of people, referring to the impact of The Care Act of 2014 along with other relevant pieces of legislation and discussing how necessary it is to distinguish law from myths when deciding on a moving and handling solution.

Reference was made to several important legal cases that although old are still considered as relevant today as they originally were. The East Sussex County case (EWHC167) is one in particular that is still regarded as relevant today as it ever was. This case highlighted the necessity of balanced decision making, taking into consideration both the human rights of clients and carers alike. It was interesting to remind ourselves that complaints via the ombudsman, although not law, are still very important, as are statutory guidance such as “Handling Home Care”.

As we know, The Care Act 2014 focusses on well-being and enabling people to achieve outcomes. Professionals are not however obliged to follow client’s choices if these choices contradict professional opinion and are considered unsafe. They are instead obliged to take a view and make recommendations when meeting their client’s needs. In terms of equipment provision, professionals only have to offer the cheapest option to clients but can only do if this option meets the assessed needs of the client in question.

An example was given where courts have been shown as not being impressed with overtly risk adverse decisions. A particular case was discussed involving a gentleman caring for his wife at home. Professional did not like the way he undertook moving and handling tasks. However, because he had been doing the particular techniques for two years with no incidents and, because his wife became upset when care was delivered by strangers, it was felt that, in this particular case, the benefits of him continuing the deliver care outweighed the negatives.

In his session, Michael Mandelstam posed an interesting question “is single handed care a salvation or a poisoned chalice?” There was discussion from professionals who feel pressured to put in single handed care packages in place as a cost cutting solution.

Melanie Sturman stressed in her session; “Moving and Handling challenges, rights, risks and responsibilities” that professionals need to remember that they are not legally bound to provide treatment that is, in their professional opinion, incorrect and that they should not be coerced into doing so by their clients or managers.

Practical workshops during the conference gave delegates the opportunity to discuss scenarios in groups and to practice possible solutions.

A particularly interesting workshop was led by Carol Johnson. Delegates were divided into groups and were given two scenarios to problem solve. It was good to see a relatively new piece of equipment –the Accora Turner - in action.

Another workshop, delivered by Anita Rush, posed the issue of moving a collapsed plus sized (bariatric) person from a chair in an emergency. Setting the scene with a volunteer wearing a bariatric “empathy suit” we discovered that a minimum of six people were needed to make the manoeuvre work. This was a really valuable and interesting workshop which made everyone think ‘outside the box’ in terms of moving and handling solutions for plus sized clients.

The conference was a fantastic event and this year saw some particularly interesting and thought-provoking sessions. If you missed out in January, keep an eye out for the Moving and Handling People North event, dates for which are due to be announced later this year.

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