The Best Lifting Aids for The Elderly
The most crucial thing to remember if you’re going to be involved with hoisting someone using equipment is to not attempt it at all unless you’ve been fully trained in how to use that specific equipment. Injuries can be inflicted on both the person hoisting and the person in the hoist if someone attempts to do so without being instructed on how to do so, which is why Helping Hands’ carers are all trained in manual handling procedures before they visit their customers alone.
Choosing mobility aids and equipment can be difficult; there are many websites and specialist suppliers who all claim to sell the best equipment and whose prices vary wildly in some cases, so how do you know what equipment is right for you or your loved one? A Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist in your local area is sometimes the first person you may speak to regarding mobility equipment, perhaps because you’ve been in hospital, or you’ve been referred to them by a GP or specialist.
Equipment can often be loaned out to people by the NHS, sometimes after paying a small deposit, but it may be that certain equipment will need to be hired from a specialist disability equipment hire company or purchased privately from a supplier. There are charities who can sometimes help too, such as the Red Cross’ wheelchair hire service.
Your local council’s social services department can also advise you further about what provision is available in your area.
Lifting from The Floor
There are various pieces of equipment and techniques that can be used to lift someone from the floor when they’ve fallen, however it is essential to check the person isn’t injured before any of these are undertaken. If there is any doubt about the person’s wellbeing then professional medical advice or help should always be sought. The equipment also shouldn’t be used by someone who hasn’t been fully trained in its operation.
A person who has fallen can either shuffle on to the deflated cushions or be rolled on from the recovery position. The cushions can then be inflated to assist the person to return to a raised seated position.
Pros: Can be used in confined spaces
Cons: Will need someone else in the home to support the person being raised
This item assembles around a person who has fallen and once it is all in place a single carer or family member can operate it to slowly lift you back to a seated position.
Pros: Only requires one person to operate it
Cons: Expensive and may be cost prohibitive to many individuals at home
Step ladder lifts
The step ladder device supports a person to gradually move up each step until they have reached the top step and can then slide onto a chair. The device is portable and can be folded away when not in use.
Pros: Excellent portability
Cons: Person needs to have enough strength in their arms and legs to be able to self-propel up the steps
The portable hoist has an arm that lifts the person after they’ve been fitted into an appropriate sling. The sling can be placed under the body by rolling the person onto one of their sides and then to the other. The hoists can be battery, mains or manually operated depending on individual requirements.
Pros: The hoist is on wheels so that it can be manoeuvred to wherever it is needed
Cons: Needs space to operate in and may require two fully trained caregivers
Techniques without specialist equipment
A person can be supported from the floor by using two sturdy pieces of equipment, such as dining chairs. The person is directed to get onto all fours, then place their hands on the chair nearest their head. They then shuffle their knees towards the front chair and put the foot of their strongest leg flat on the ground, the caregiver bringing a chair close to their rear. The caregiver then instructs them to push up with their knee and slides the chair underneath them. The person then shuffles back in the chair to a comfortable position.
Pros: No specialist equipment needed, can be carried out with sturdy household furniture
Cons: Person will need to have sufficient strength in both their arms and legs to support themselves throughout the manoeuvre.
Lifting in Confined Spaces
Lifting cushions: https://ukcareguide.co.uk/lifting-cushions/
Portable and battery operated, lifting cushions can help someone to get back into a sitting or standing position from the floor or when already sitting on a chair. Due to their compact size and light weight, they can be moved easily, for instance from chair to bed or anywhere they are needed, and in some circumstances can be used without assistance from a caregiver, retaining an individual’s independence.
Pros: Can be used in confined spaces and without assistance
Cons: May not be suitable for someone who has more complex mobility needs
Lifting Wheelchair Users in An Emergency
Depending on the person’s mobility and strength, lifting from a wheelchair can be done via transfer aids, hoists, or if the person has the independent ability, lifting cushions. If the person uses a wheelchair because they have no ability to independently mobilise then your main option is likely to be a hoist, or if they have some strength in their legs, a stand-aid. Stand-aids are powered devices that a standing sling attaches to after being secured around the person’s body. They then hold on to the stand aid and it is raised by a caregiver automatically, usually powered by a rechargeable battery.
Pros: Can retain independence better than having to be hoisted in a full-body sling
Cons: The person needs to have the ability to support their body weight on their legs
Emergency Lifting Aids When Outside
There are portable versions of many hoists and stand-aids which can be folded, packed and loaded into a car, in case of an emergency when out and about. Many models of hoist can be taken apart or folded and are often referred to as ‘portable’ hoists for this reason. Depending on the person’s mobility that is being supported, the inflatable cushions or lifting chair may also be suitable to take out when leaving the house and will definitely be lighter to carry than a traditional hoist.
Pros: Some are very portable and can be easily carried
Cons: Certain styles can be heavy to carry, even when broken down into component parts
Lifting Aids from Beds & Sofas
If a portable hoist, lifting cushion, stand-aid or other similar mobility aid is not suitable for the person who needs to be lifted from their bed or sofa, you may prefer to have a ceiling hoist or other fixed device installed. Ceiling hoists are fixed devices that utilise a track system to enable a person to move wherever the track is installed, for instance from one room to another or from bed to chair. Celling hoists can also help to retain a person’s independence as they can often operate the mechanism themselves once they are inside the sling and attached to the arm, meaning only one caregiver is usually required to support them.
Pros: Can help a person retain a feeling of independence
Cons: Tracks and hoist have to be fixed in place, so not as discreet as mobile hoists
Ongoing Elderly Support from Helping Hands
When you require support with your mobility at home then choosing care from Helping Hands will see you supported by compassionate carers and a company with over 30 years of elderly care experience. We work tirelessly to ensure that our customers get to live the best quality of life that they can in the home they love, avoiding going into a care home and remaining with loved ones and precious pets. Mobility difficulties can make you worry that your home will no longer suit your needs but with Helping Hands’ carers to support you that won’t be the case.
Our private carers will be able to help you to mobilise, whether you use equipment to do so or not, and they will be carefully trained on various types of techniques and equipment to ensure that your needs are always being supported to the best of our ability. You’ll have a personalised support plan in your home that will detail exactly how you are to be mobilised, following your guidelines and requirements, and always keeping you at the centre of your care journey.
If you’d like to discover more about the types of care we can support you with then please call our friendly customer care team seven days a week or request a call back via our website.