A patient lift can be an invaluable asset to those caring for a loved one with very limited mobility. But just like any piece of medical equipment, they must be used properly to ensure the safety of both the user and occupant. If you are considering adding a patient lift to your home, here are some important guidelines to keep in mind before, during, and after your purchase.
Patient lifts come in many different styles and configurations, from ceiling-mounted lifts that run on tracks to mobile models with wheeled frames. The one that best suits your needs will depend on your loved one’s physical condition, your fitness level, and your home’s configuration. The frame and hoist need to be sturdy enough to handle the weight, and the sling large enough to ensure a comfortable fit without being oversized. If the sling is too big, it may allow the occupant to slip out. Manual lifts are usually fine in terms of maneuverability and weight capacity, but they require a lot of cranking, so if you don’t think you’re capable of 50 or more cranks per transport, a motorized model is probably the better option. Finally, keep in mind that thresholds need to be wide enough to accommodate the frames of mobile lifts. If your house has narrow doorways, a ceiling lift will be the better choice.
Becoming confident with your patient lift requires practice, which should be done with a fully mobile volunteer, not your loved one. A third person should also be there to provide any needed assistance. Once confident with the system, you’ll need to follow certain protocols when it comes to positioning the person in the sling, operating the equipment, and keeping yourself safe. Specifics will vary depending on which model you choose, but some general rules are to avoid leaning when lifting, making sure the equipment is always in good working order, and confirming the transport path is free of obstacles before operation.
If you are considering adding a patient lift to your home in the Upper Peninsula, the company to turn to is the Barrier Free Store. Reach out to us today and schedule a no-obligation home assessment to learn more.