In This Issue
Introdcing the Excutive Director
Message from the Directo
Soteria Strains
Article by Louise Barker
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Issue: #11       November/2014

Patient Handling and Movement

AWARE-NS Board of Directors - Anouncement


The Board of Directors of AWARE-NS are pleased to welcome Susan Dempsey, PDt., MHSM, to the position of Executive Director, AWARE-NS commencing December 1st, 2014.

Over the past nine months Susan has worked in an interim capacity with the AWARE-NS team focusing on the implementation of the 2013 stakeholder review recommendations. In collaboration with the Board and the AWARE-NS staff team, she guided the realignment of the organization, focusing on meeting identified stakeholder needs to build health & safety capacity within the health system.

Susan comes to AWARE-NS from Northwood where she held numerous leadership positions over her 27 year career with the organization, gaining a wealth of experience in a continuing care environment and establishing strong relationships within the Nova Scotia Health sector


As well, she has held positions on the Capital District Health Board of Directors and the Health Association Nova Scotia (HANS) Board of Governors and is an active member of the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association.


Susan's leadership experience and commitment to health and safety issues from a system perspective will be an asset to AWARE.NS as we move forward with a new strategic plan to meet the evolving health and safety needs of the sector.


With Susan's leadership, AWARE.NS looks forward to continuing to develop collaborative partnerships and to achieving positive outcomes both from an organizational perspective and with sector stakeholders.






Message From The Executive Director


AWARE -NS is pleased to highlight the Soteria Strains Project in this month's edition of AWARE-NS News.  AWARE-NS is an active partner with this important initiative in developing a provincial program for safe patient lift, transfer and repositioning to support the goal of lowering workplace injuries in health care, and  helping to ensure more people return home safely at the end of each workday.


 Please take a moment to read Mark William's article providing a progress report on  this important program.  Louise Barker, WCB also provides insight on the  Musculoskeletal  Injuries and the train the trainer program developed for Safe, Lift & Transfer in Long Term Care.  This Peer-to-peer training program  and coaching model  provides support for one another through implementation   to  ensure sustainability for success.


We were pleased to be able to share the afternoon agenda with HANS, Continuing Care Fall Assembly on November 28,2104  by welcoming  Greg Green, NS Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Greg provided an informative engagement and feedback session on the "Workplace Health and Safety Regulations-Phase II. This session was recorded via Webinar and will be posted to our video library. All questions and comments were documented. AWARE-NS will keep you posted on any updates! Thanks to all for participating.


Don't forget to check out our Self Directed Learning on  and Heather's Training calendar!



Soteria Strains Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program Progress Update 


By Mark Williams, Project Lead


The Soteria Strains Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program is being developed by representatives from Nova Scotia's district health authorities and their partners. The intention is to provide acute care facilities and organizations in the province with guidance about implementing and sustaining an evidence-based, effective safe patient handling and movement program within their facilities and/or organization.


The Soteria Strains Working group originally identified 2 major deliverables (and added another later in the process) to provide to the partner organizations.  These are:

  1. A Program Guide- this includes elements shown to be effective in published literature as well as elements identified as helpful or required based on what was heard during engagement sessions with the individuals who manage and perform work that involves patient handling and movement. 
  2. An Implementation/Sustainability Guide - This is a step by step plan on how to successfully implement and sustain the Soteria Strains Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program. 
  3. Training material to support the guides.   (It became clear during the program design and writing phase that due to the amount of information contained in the guides, providing training material would maximize the potential for success of the program) 

Update on progress:

  • Writing/Design Phase:
  • o   Implementation Guide
    • Complete:   Draft version 1.0
    • Current work(s):   Formatting for distribution
    • Future Work:  The guide will be used to support a pilot.  Feedback will be obtained from the pilot to identify gaps and improve the guide.
    • o   Program Guide
      • Complete:   Draft version 1.0 - includes all core sections required for program success
      • Current work(s):  
        • Editing of a few subsections continues and is expected to be completed prior piloting the material.  These subsections contain specific considerations, information, and tools that may be used to supplement the processes described in the completed core sections.
        • Formatting for distribution
      • Future Work:  The guide will be used to support a pilot.  Feedback will be obtained from the pilot to identify gaps and improve the guide.
    • o   Training Material
      • Complete - Lessons plans and duration estimates for all identified training modules.   Content has been created for approximately 25% of the training material (priority has been placed on material required early in the implementation process).
      • Current work - content that is completed is being formatted for e-learning (for modules that have been identified as appropriate for e-learning).   Content continues to be generated for modules that would be delivered early in program implementation.
      • Future work - content creation for all modules. Feedback will be obtained from the pilot to identify gaps and improve the material.

For an overview of the material contained in the guides follow the link to the Program and Implementation Guides Introduction.  For a sneak peak at some content follow the link to the section on the point of care mobility check (PACE).

  • Pilot/beta testing
    • Key elements of the Soteria Strains Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program (for example the critical element; Commitment of Senior Leaders) are influenced by changes resulting from the transition from 9 district health authorities and the IWK to a single provincial health authority and IWK.  The Soteria Strains Working group has developed several contingency plans for how the program material may be tested prior to a full provincial rollout.   Key stakeholders within the District Health Authorities are being contacted to review options for this next phase.  The target is to begin testing materials early in 2015.

If you feel you may be a key stakeholder within a district health authority or the IWK, and have not been contacted yet please feel free to contact the Soteria Strains Project Leader, Mark Williams at  or the Soteria Strains Working Group Chairperson, Michael Carter at .








Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSIs)

By Louise Barker, WCB Relationship Manager


We know that Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are the most common time loss claims reported to the WCB by health care workers and that 50% of these MSI claims were link to some type of manual lift or transfer task (i.e. patient lifting, transferring and repositioning).  The Soteria initiative reinforces that a comprehensive safe, lift, transfer and repositioning (SLT&R) program is the best practice approach that will reduce workplace injuries. 


To support the implementation of this program in Long Term Care (LTC); a train-the-trainer SLT&R workshop was developed to provide the resources to "team lead (s)"(aka peer champions).  The intent of the program is to provide the program elements and hands-on practical training to develop and implement a "best practice" Program that the peer champions can lead at their facilities.


Through theory, discussions and examples, team leads will attain the confidence, knowledge and skills to assess residents to identify the most appropriate means to lift, transfer and reposition every resident within the organization.


A series of discussions and activities on the following topics:

- Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSIs)

- Body Mechanics

- Safe Lift, Transfer and Repositioning Program

  •  Establishing a Team
  •   Developing the Policy / Procedures
  • Learning the transfers and lifts
  • Other tips
  • Training and Education


The first of these workshops was delivered in the Yarmouth Region, hosted by the Meadows LTC home in June 2014, and now 6 months later, those that participated have made great stride implementing a SLT&R program.  The second session was delivered in October in Bridgewater and in January 2015 more sessions will be rolling out across the province.  If you would like your region to host a session next, please contact Louise Barker at:



No Fee Self- Directed Learning


AWARE-NS offers a no fee online training sessions. Sessions we currently have online are Safety Accountability and Internal Responsibility System (IRS). To date, we have had over 800 modules completed! Take advantage of this great opportunity!


We offer each topic in the full 50 Minute training session as well as the  Mini Modules that are 10 minutes- 15 minutes in length.


You go to our website, watch the video, answer the question and complete the registration form and submit. AWARE-NS will send the certificate of completion to your organization. 


Click here to access the training modules


Coming Soon:







11 (15 min) modules for "Staying safe  while working in the Community"- Hazard Identification for Home care and Community workers


Staying Safe While Working in the Community is appropriate for for Home Care workers and any other working that may be working in the community. Videos with quizzes will be added to the website shortly. Videos can now be viewed on our you tube channel:


Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Module 5

Module 6 

Module 7 

Module 8

Module 9 

Module 10 

Module 11