Transferring patients with mobility challenges is a, well, a challenge. Lifting and moving people can be dangerous for the patient and the caregiver. Ceiling lifts provide a comfortable solution to patient transfers that is safe for everyone involved. The FDA has compiled comprehensive information about accomplishing safe patient transfers using ceiling lifts for wheelchair users; for complete information, refer to their guide. The following are safety highlights to consider when purchasing and using lifts in your home:
When to Use a Lift
Living comfortably at home necessitates accommodations when aging or illness restricts freedom of movement. Ceiling lifts help with the following:
- Lifting patients from the floor
- Bed to chair transfers
- Lateral transfers from one bed to another
- Lifting limbs for greater comfort
- Toileting/bathing support and transfers
How to Choose the Right Sling and Sling Bar
Use manufacturer recommendations for choosing slings and sling bars using the patient’s weight, height, and hip measurements. Choosing the right components are critical to safe transfers.
- Choose a sling that is suited to the specific transfer task required.
- Consider the patient’s health and condition. Some slings offer more head and back support or padding to keep patients secure and comfortable.
- Be careful about the size. If the sling is too large, the patient may slip out. If the sling is too small, the risks of slipping out and exacerbating injuries are both present. If the patient is in between sizes, the smaller size may be more secure.
How to Prepare for Safe Transfers
Ceiling lifts are an effective tool for patient transfers, but there are several things you can do to make the process even smoother and more seamless:
- Know the system and read and follow all manufacturer instructions carefully.
- Determine the number of caregivers required to operate the lift.
- Clear the area and make certain there’s sufficient room to operate the lift and move the patient.
- Verify that the lift will move easily through doorways and around other barriers.
- Ensure that the battery is sufficiently charged.
- Test the lift controls.
- Check the sling for signs of wear.
- Examine all the hooks and fasters to make sure they are working and are secure.
- ALWAYS double-check the equipment before lifting the patient.
Home Mobility Solutions
Patient transfers can be safe and simple with the help of ceiling lifts. Patients enjoy the security these devices bring, and caregivers enjoy being able to help their loved ones without the risk of injury to themselves. Knowing how to operate your ceiling lift properly takes some preparation, but the rewards of living at home are well worth your best efforts.