Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mechanical Lift to move a patient

We have a Hoyer manual lift 6 years, since 2006. It is rented from a medical supply house through Medicare, and AARP picks up the difference. At the time we received it Husband was recently out of the hospital from dehydration.  He was very weak.  I used it a few times in those 6 years, but it was more for a secure feeling knowing I could move him if I needed to with no one else to help.

In 6 years I have used it to get him off the floor a few times as I have told in other blogs. I started using it regularly about 3 months ago to put him into bed.  I had been transferring him using the gait belt, but his legs were no longer able to bear weight and a few times we both nearly wound up on the floor. Using it those few times in the past was good practice for now when I really need it every day.

In the last few weeks I use this lift to get him out of bed and into the wheelchair for breakfast at the dining table. I use the Skid Seat to pull him back into the wheelchair. Then from the wheelchair into the recliner where I then use the Bed Sled to pull him into position in the recliner. This is why I make these products, I use them myself.

Later in the day I use the lift to get him out of the recliner to the toilet, with a side trip to the bedroom to remove his brief and loosen his pants. Back into the lift and to the toilet where we maneuver the lift around the toilet getting him positioned over the seat and lowered into position. Our bathroom is not large and there are grab bars installed wherever they were needed. (The bars serve little purpose now). To remove the sling and get him released from the lift means climbing into the bathtub.
Tight Bathroom
Once lowered onto the seat Husband uses the the horizontal bars on the lift to hold himself forward and keep from leaning.  The legs of the lift reach the wall behind the toilet keeping it from moving back any further and makes it pretty stable for him to hold on to.
While he holds onto the bars I am able to assist him and hook up the sling again when finished and ready to get up. Then back to the bed to put on a fresh brief and his pants.  Depending on the time of day he may return to the recliner or sit in the wheelchair waiting for bedtime.
I am so glad this lift is here.

This blog offers 2 suggestions:
  1. 1. Have a lift in house BEFORE you need it if possible. This will give you time to get comfortable with its operation. The few times you use it before conditions worsen will get you familiar with its limits for working room, how tight a space you can work in.
  2. When using the lift on bare legs, like after using the toilet when pants have been removed, place cloth ( a washcloth will do) under the patient's legs where the sling will be wrapped to prevent the sling from irritating and cutting the skin. I try to keep Husbands pants on his lower legs while on the toilet. Then I pull them up over his thighs enough to allow the sling to go under the cloth.  It is clumsy but more comfortable than having the sling in contact with the skin.