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Stop Assess and Move Smarter (SAMS)

Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital (Blacktown Campus)Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital (Mount Druitt Campus)
Project Added:
19 August 2014
Last updated:
9 October 2014

Stop Assess and Move Smarter (SAMS)

Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District


The Stop Assess and Move Smarter (SAMS) Project is an initiative of the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Manual Handling Team to strategically reduce manual handling risks at Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital (BMDH) to measurably improve patient and staff safety. The objectives of the project are to:

  1. Reduce the workers compensation claims attributed to manual handling injuries to BMDH staff by 5% by December 2014
  2. Measurably improve the manual handling experience of BMDH admitted patients by December 2014
  3. Measurably improve the safety culture of BMDH staff and management with regard to manual handling by December 2014.

Download a poster about this project from the Centre for Healthcare Redesign graduation, August 2014.

SAMS logo


To increase ownership and accountability at BMDH in implementing the WSLHD Manual Handling Program strategies to measurably improve staff and patient experience by December 2014.


  • To improve staff and patient safety and experience
  • To reduce manual handling risks and injuries
  • Improve Work Health and Safety of the workplace

Project status

Started August 2013, completion due December 2014.


Manual handling injuries have consistently been the most significant contributor to workers compensation claims in WSLHD. At BMDH manual handling from July 2011 to July 2013 accounted for an average of:

  • 19% of all reported incidents, (approximately 4.2 incidents per 100 FTE)
  • 40% of all workers compensation claims
  • 52% of the cost of workers compensation claims, at an average cost of $13,827 per manual handling claim.

The SAMS project team applied the Centre for Healthcare Redesign methodology, involving consultation with patients and staff, to establish and address existing issues that affect patient and staff safety and experience.

The information gathered from the patient interviews was recorded and analysed in relation to the Picker List that describes the dimensions of care that patients and carers' value.

A key issue from the patient surveys identified a lack of consistency in staff manual handling techniques (see Figure 1).

Graph showing 28% moved the same by all staff, 24% moved the same way on the same ward, and 48% moved differently by different staff
Figure 1. Patient survey results for patient handling techniques

Key results from staff survey include:

  • 54% of staff were neutral or agreed that there was often variation between staff on the correct/safest way to move a patient
  • 29% of staff were neutral or disagreed that manual handling equipment was easily accessible
  • Between 31% and 46% of staff were neutral or felt that a patient's manual handling needs were effectively communicated during handover, shift changes and between wards.

Key issues identified through process mapping were:

  • Equipment is not always readily available
  • No central store for equipment
  • No patient handling assessment
  • Lack of allied health referral.

Solutions implemented

Solutions design workshops and one on one meetings were held with key stakeholders from nursing, allied health, wardspersons and radiographers to brainstorm viable solutions to the key issues identified.

Proposed solutions were analysed and prioritised by the steering committee to ensure strategic and operational alignment with the project’s goals and objectives.

An implementation plan for the following solutions were endorsed by the steering committee, BMDH General Manager, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Manager:

  • Inclusion of manual handling key performance indicators (KPIs) into existing monthly reports
  • Implement equipment inventory and log book
  • Implement BMDH Executive safety walk around
  • Implement traffic light patient handling assessment

Implementation has commenced with a graduated roll out of solutions, starting with quick wins. Local BMDH ownership of solutions implementation has been established with support from the project team.


A highly visible corporate communications strategy has been developed including development of a SAMS corporate identity.

The SAMS Project is due for completion in December 2014 and is on track to achieve the following KPIs and outcomes:

  • Reduced manual handling injury compensation claims by 5% per annum
  • Direct financial savings of approximately $180,000 per annum
  • Improved patient confidence during physical transfer activities by 50%
  • Reduced incidence of incorrect patient transfer techniques by 58%
  • Improved staff work safety culture.

Lessons learnt

Key stakeholder involvement and ownership of project initiatives from development to implementation is vital to the project’s success.  Effective sponsorship from senior management is required for transfer of strategies to larger facilities. Engage sponsors early on in project to assist with dealing with issues early.

Timing of implementation is critical as it is difficult to maintain momentum over holiday periods and annual leave requirements.


AHC Media LLC July 2008, ‘Key to safety: Creating a culture of safety', Hospital Employee Health, pp.1-2

Hieke, S & Wilczynski, P May 2012, 'Colour Me In – an empirical study on consumer responses to the traffic light signposting system in nutrition labelling', Public Health Nutrition, vol.15, no.5, pp.773-782.

'Improving hand hygiene compliance rates with marketing, accountability and incentives' May 2010, Briefings on Infection Control, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 6-8.

Kay, K, Glass, N & Evans, A, August 2012, 'Reconceptualising manual handling: Foundations for practice change', Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 203-212.

Krill, C, Staffinelo, BA & Raven, C, 2012,' Empowering staff nurses to use research to change practice for safe patient handling', Nursing Outlook, vol. 60, no. 3, pp.157-162.

Mackay, S November 2011, 'Streamlining operations for healthcare reporting', Health Management Technology, vol. 32, no.11, pp. 18-19.

NRC Picker 2008, ‘Eight Dimensions of Patient-Centred Care: NRC Picker’, viewed August 2013,

The Victorian Quality Council July 2010, Promoting effective communication among healthcare professionals to improve patient safety and quality of care, Hospital and Health Service Performance Division, Victorian Government Department of Health, Melbourne Victoria.

Vincent, C, Burnett, S and Carthey, J, April 2013, 'The measurement and monitoring of safety', The Health Foundation, pp. 1-9.

Waters, TR & Rockefeller, K 2010, 'Safe patient handling for rehabilitation professionals', Rehabilitation Nursing, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 216-222. Please see attached document.


Manual Handling Program Coordinator
Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital
Western Sydney Local Health District

Manual Handling Program Training Coordinator
Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital
Western Sydney Local Health District
Phone: 02 9840 3770

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