This Continuing Care Month, we are celebrating the power of continuing care staff when they work together to create their own innovative solutions to the issues facing healthcare today. The invention of the J-RO EZ Rest here at Ocean View is positively impacting caregivers across the province (and beyond) each and every day.
In 2015, while doing safety training with staff, Ocean View Physiotherapy Assistants Jake Harding and Rowena Graham heard CCAs share stories of being injured while trying to hold clients on their side during care. Due to cognitive issues, aggression, or even discomfort, clients were pushing back on staff while they were attempting to hold them on their side. This was resulting in wrist, shoulder and back injuries.
According to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia, within the health care sector musculoskeletal injuries are the most common time-loss injuries, and 53 per cent of these were linked directly to work involved in lifting or transferring in 2018.
“Staff injury contributes to many of the problems facing us in health care in this province, including staff shortages” explains Dion Mouland, Ocean View’s President and CEO, “We all need to work together to come up with innovative solutions to support our workforce and our aging population.”
“It did not take us long to realize that there was nothing out there to help with this,” says Rowena, “So we started thinking, ‘Are we crazy to think maybe we can come up with something ourselves?’”
Over the next two years, Rowena and Jake collaborated with other members of the Ocean View team and external partners to create more than 40 prototypes, eventually creating the J-RO EZ Rest. The J-RO EZ Rest is a specifically designed medical wedge which safely and comfortably keeps a client lying on their side at a 90 degree angle during care.
“We wanted something simple to use, and accessible to staff,” explains Jake, “It had to keep the resident stable, we needed to find a way to keep it from sliding, and we knew it had to be easily cleaned for infection control in a healthcare setting.”
Today, the final product checks all of these boxes and is easy to use for those in long term care, and beyond. The innovative product is being used across the province because of its simplicity and its ability to be transported wherever it’s needed. Aware-NS has recommended the J-RO EZ Rest to care workers and organizations across the province, as part of their Safe Handling and Mobility Program. The J-RO EZ Rest is also being used as a return-to-work tool, to help staff get back to work more quickly following injury.
“The J-RO EZ Rest is a well-designed, practical tool for a variety of care activities,” says Chris Spinney, Certified Professional Ergonomist and WCB Nova Scotia Workplace Consultant, “It’s an excellent tool for health care environments, helping to keep care workers safe, and those receiving care comfortable.”
“Ocean View wants to share this idea with others because it is a very simple idea, and we know that it works,” says Rowena, “In health care, we have the highest amount of injury compared to any other industry in this province. We have come up with a product that’s going to cut down on the amount of exertion, and wear and tear… why not share that?”
In 2019, this Nova Scotian invention has also been recognized as a Leading Practice by global organization Health Standards Organization (HSO) and its affiliate Accreditation Canada. The Leading Practice designation is awarded to innovative ideas around the world that are creating positive, people-centred change.
“When I sit and think about how far the J-RO EZ Rest has come in the last few years… it’s mind-blowing,” says Rowena, ”The most rewarding part is when you get a staff member coming up to you, saying, ‘I don’t know how I would have done my job today if I didn’t have that J-RO (EZ Rest)’.”