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Logo of oenvmedOccupational and Environmental MedicineVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Occup Environ Med. 2005 January; 62(1): 13–17.
PMCID: PMC1740861

Intensive education combined with low tech ergonomic intervention does not prevent low back pain in nurses


Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive educational and low-tech ergonomic intervention programme aimed at reducing low back pain (LBP) among home care nurses and nurses' aids.

Methods: In 1999, 345 home care nurses and nurses' aids in four Danish municipalities were studied. Participants in two municipalities constituted the intervention group and participants in the other two served as the control group. In the intervention group, participants were divided into small groups, each of which was assigned one specially trained instructor. During weekly meetings participants were educated in body mechanics, patient transfer, and lifting techniques, and use of low-tech ergonomic aids. In the control group, participants attended a one time only three hour instructional meeting. Information on LBP was collected using the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire supplemented with information on number of episodes of LBP and care seeking due to LBP during the past year.

Results: A total of 309 nurses and nurses' aids returned the questionnaire at baseline and 255 at follow up in August 2001. At follow up, no significant differences were found between the two groups for any of the LBP variables, and both groups thought that education in patient transfer techniques had been helpful. Within group changes in LBP status was not related to the intervention or to satisfaction with participating in the project.

Conclusions: Intensive weekly education in body mechanics, patient transfer techniques, and use of low-tech ergonomic equipment was not superior to a one time only three hour instructional meeting for home care nurses and nurses' aids.

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