Body Mechanics & Safety

Body Mechanics

Body mechanics refers to the way we move during every day activities. Good body mechanics may be able to prevent or correct problems with posture (the way you stand, sit, or lie.) Good body mechanics may also protect your body, especially your back, from pain and injury. Using good body mechanics is important for everyone.

Physical Therapist Kevin Lockette has created a helpful resource guide called A Caregiver's Complete Guide for Safe Mobility & Independence in the Home. This entire manual is generously shared on our HHHC volunteer website with Kevin's permission. Though volunteers are not generally tasked with personal care, this provides a very useful frame of reference.

How a home environment is set up can help eliminate safety hazards and avoid injuries for both you and the patient. The Caregivers at Home guide has some useful safety tips.

General Visit Safety

When you receive a volunteer assignment, other members of the hospice team have already visited the patient and family and assessed the needs, as well as the safety of the environment. HHHC would never knowingly send you to an environment that is unsafe. When doing home visits, though, things can sometimes be unpredictable and it makes sense to take some general precautions:

  • Lock personal items in the trunk
  • Dress conservatively
  • Do not wear a lot of jewelry
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Keep keys and cell phone handy
  • Be alert to surroundings
  • Watch for any slip or trip hazards
  • Wash hands/use hand sanitizer

If there is a pet in the home, it is HHHC’s policy that you may ask that the pet be put in a closed room during your visit.

There should be no weapons in the home. If you observe weapons, drug paraphernalia (unrelated to hospice meds), or any activity that makes you uncomfortable or appears suspicious, report it immediately to the agency.

If you have any reason to suspect abuse or neglect, report it immediately. A hospice supervisor will explore your concerns. HHHC is a mandatory reporter, meaning that if we agree that there is concern of abuse or neglect, we are required to report it to the Division of Elderly and Adult Services (DEAS). A hospice staff member would manage that process.

Above all, when doing home visits, trust your instinct -- if something does not feel right, it probably isn't. Try to figure out why and what your response should be. Be calm and confident. If you feel any threat or danger to your safety, leave the home immediately.

HHHC has staff available 24 hours to support you. If it is after hours, you can call the agency main number (882-2941) and a hospice administrator will be paged.


Additional Links

Recommended Library Resources

  • Book: Caregivers Complete Guide for Safe Mobility & Independence in the Home by Kevin F Lockette, PT
  • Book: Caregiving at Home by William Leahy, MD and the Ecitors of Hartman Publishing
  • Video: Transfer Training & Mobility Skills for Caregivers