Highlander Help

Lifting and Moving Patients (Chapter 35)



  • #1 cause of injury/disability in EMS is lifting and moving

  • shoulders in line with hips

  • lift with legs, not with back-keep back straight

  • should use strap(s) to secure patient whenever moving them

  • stretchers should not be used down stairs - stair chair used instead

  • Dragging on ground:
    • should move patient in a line (in direction of head or feet), not horizontally
    • clothes
    • blanket
    • arm

  • Know your equipment! 
    • know weight limits of stretchers

  • backboard used for patients who must be transported in a supine or immobilized position

  • direct ground lift-used for patients with no suspected spinal injury.

  • flexible stretchers (Ked/Reeves)-good for moving through/out of confined spaces
  • basket stretchers (Stokes litter)- used to carry patients across uneven terrain from location inaccessible by ambulance
  • scoop stretcher (orthopedic stretcher)-designed to be split into pieces. Length is adjustable.  

  • diamond carry is better than four corner carry-if one person unexpectedly drops or lets go, diamond carry keeps patient more stable

  • ***Never step over or hand objects over patient!***