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Safe patient handling and mobility is an ergonomic approach consisting of policies, programs, and equipment to reduce WMSD and facilitate a culture of safety among patients and healthcare practitioners. Due to occupational therapy’s established role in ergonomics, practitioners are skilled to utilize SPHM to provide evaluative, consultative, preventative, and therapeutic services to patients while preventing WMSDs to healthcare practitioners. Despite OT’s contributions to SPHM, occupational therapy practitioners are not recognized as leaders in SPHM. To address this problem, in the Spring 2021 meeting, the AOTA Representative Assembly was presented a request for action by a taskforce that also recognized this problem. They moved that a position statement a be written and made available for members and external audiences. A position statement was created to present the current position of a national organization, AOTA, on occupation therapy’s role in SPHM. In this statement SPHM is defined, and the components of SPHM are presented. SPHM on an individual, group, and organizational level will be applied to occupational therapy. The current state and national legislation of SPHM was discussed. As well as a look into inclusion of SPHM into the curriculum, and implications for occupational therapy.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Moving and Lifting Patients, Ergonomics, Musculoskeletal System, Injuries, Occupational Therapy, Education, Professional, Policy


Higher Education | Interprofessional Education | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Fall 2021 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, December 9-10, 2021.

Culture Change for Occupational Therapists on Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM): Advocacy for SPHM Policies for a National Organization.