"Nurses needing to understand use of zimmer frames"

About: Southern General Hospital / Urology

(as the patient),

I am a user of a zimmer frame so understand how I should rise from a chair, or bed, and how to sit back down safely. The nursing staff I have come into contact with on my local medical wards do not seem to have this understanding.

Many patients are issued with zimmer frames by physiotherapists to enable them to manage to move about safely. In my experience, nursing staff have often not recognised that I have a zimmer frame and tried to move me without using it, or if the nurse knows I have a frame they present it for use in the wrong way.

I have had them encourage me to put both my hands on the frame whilst sitting on the bed, or chair, or commode, and tried to get me to stand that way. As physios will tell all patients when standing it is important to push up from the bed/chairarms/commode arms then reach to hold on to the zimmer frame. Also when preparing to sit, the back of my legs must be in contact with the bed/chair/commode, then I need to let go the zimmer frame and reach to the chair arms, or bed surface, to gently lower myself. The value of using a zimmer is greatly reduced if these simple procedures are not followed. It also makes the moving process more stressful for me - and nurse. Please make use of such aids to mobility a core part of all nurse training.

The other thing that I think would help is for zimmer frames, left for a patient's use on a ward, to be labelled (by the patients name being attached to the frame). Thereby being identified as "theirs" for the duration they are to be using the frame on that ward. This would allow nurses to correctly identify the frame for that patient (i.e. one of correct height!) and alerts the nurses to knowing that the patient has a zimmer frame which they should be making use of. I suggest that the physios should be responsible for naming all frames they leave before exiting the ward.

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