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EMS Patient Handling Tips

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EMS Patient Handling Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Hip Injury Movement Tips

In central Wisconsin, the ice and snow season logically leads to an increase in the number of "elderly patient has fallen, possible broken hip" calls. When responding to patients with a suspected broken hip, remember these tips:

1. The patient is often already in a relative position of comfort. Wait to move them until you have a plan and resources to make the move.

2. Geriatric patients have decreased thermoregulatory responses. The patient is likely conducting heat into a cold kitchen, bathroom, or garage floor. Covering the patient does not stop the downward conductive heat loss. Move the patient on to a warm blanket(s) and/or padded backboard to minimize the heat loss.

3. If authorized, follow your local protocols to begin pharmacological pain management before moving the patient.

4. Minimize movement of the patient’s injured leg and hip by using available materials like pillows and draw sheets to buddy splint the patient’s legs together.

5. When it is time to move the patient, assign one person to focus on stabilizing the injured hip and not participate in the lift.

What do you do to minimize pain and improve comfort for a patient with an unstable hip injury from a fall? Share your thoughts in the member comments section.

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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