Discussion Group

What Do You Think?

Lead Aprons Does anyone have a policy in relation to lead aprons? Including: • An allowance for wearing a lead apron? • Regular breaks allocated? • Employers providing private massage treatment to relieve the tension of wearing the lead apron for a lengthy duration? Narelle Kent Occupational Health & Safety (Training) Officer Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Melbourne VIC Email: nkent@anfvic.asn.au Cc: cathlabdigest@aol.com Narelle, 1. Most of the labs in the U.S. usually state in their job descriptions “required to wear lead aprons 80% of the time.” 2. If a cath lab system is well managed for ergonomics of their staff, the scrubbing assistant, circulator and monitoring team member should rotate their positions so the scrubber goes to the monitor and does not wear lead through the next case. The best manpower strategy is to have four-member teams assighned to each room. Each member of the team is fully cross-trained to handle the tasks. The 4-member team then has one member out of the room during the procedure. This person does help with turnovers and set ups of the patient, then leaves the room and stays near the cath lab if an emergent issue occurs. At lunch time, the person who is out goes to lunch and then returns to relieve the other members in the following order: monitor assistant first, circulator next and scrubber last. 3. It is becoming more common for cath lab personnel to have massages done after work. Many go to chiropractors, who have massage specialists in their practice. The staff pays for the massages. Some of this type of therapy is covered under many of the modern third-party carriers. Staff usually have their massages done on the weekends, Saturday preferably, so they can rest through Sunday before the work week begins again. Also, I suggest that personnel wear two-piece lead: blouse and kilt (skirt). When personnel put on the skirt (kilt), if they rotate the two layers to the back of their lower backs, the shift of the weight places the weight distribution down the center of the spine instead of pulling the spine forward. The blouse should have the three-piece back straps so the weight does not rest on the shoulders and lower cervical spine, but places the weight on the iliac crests of the pelvis. In my opinion, the best manufacturer of custom-made lead aprons in the states is Burlington Medical Supply (www.burmed.com). The contact person with Burlington Medical is Dennis Schwartz. The phone number is 1-800-221-3466. They do have a dealer in Australia. One additional note: 80–85% of men and women who function in cath labs do not wear their lead properly and eventually develop back problems. I have worn lead since January 1965 and have not had issues with my back. I hope this helps you with your dilemma. Spinal issues with upper and lower extremity pain are increasingly an issue for men and women who wear lead aprons for prolonged periods of time. Best regards, Chuck Williams, BS, RPA, RT(R) (CV)(CI), RCIS, CPFT, CCT, FSICP Altanta, Georgia Email: iraa.rpa@gmail.com
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