Archive for April, 2015

Assistive Devices for Lifting and Transferring Loved Ones when Providing Care at Home

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Lift and transfer devicesUsing help to lift or transfer someone doesn’t always mean you need a second pair of hands. There are devices and tools that can help make the process safer for everyone involved. If you have such a device, it’s essential that you understand how to use it properly and to inspect the device regularly to be sure it’s solid. It’s best if you can ask a qualified healthcare professional (such as a physical therapist) to show you how to use the equipment. Some of these items are available for rent, as well as for purchase.

Some types of transfer and lifting equipment include:

  • Transfer or gait belt – This belt goes around the person’s waist and provides you with something sturdy to hold on to. You then can provide support and guidance to the person as he or she moves along a sliding board, gets up or down to/from a seated position, or is walking. Transfer belts must fit and be placed properly for them to be effective and safe.
  • Turning or positioning sheet (sometimes called a piqué) – Small sheets, often of a more durable fabric than regular linen and sometimes backed with waterproof fabric, can be placed underneath someone who is lying in bed. By holding the sides of the positioning sheet, caregivers can help move the person up and down in the bed or from side to side.
  • Sliding board – A board is used as a bridge between two surfaces, such as a bed and a chair, a wheelchair and bath seat, etc. If the person needs extra assistance, support, or security, a transfer belt can be used at the same time.
  • Portable lift, often called a Hoyer lift – A sling, usually a large square of strong fabric or mesh, is placed underneath the person who is going to be moved. The sling is then hooked to cables that are suspended from “arms”, which slowly lift the person off the bed or chair. The person is then guided to the destination and slowly lowered. The sling usually stays in place while the person is sitting in a chair, but is removed when in bed.
  • Ceiling mounted lift – Permanent lifts similar to Hoyer lifts can be installed from the ceiling. The cables run across a track and are usually installed in bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Lift chair – It can be hard for some people to get up from a sitting position if they are in a recliner type of chair. Lift chairs have a mechanism that pushes up the seat, guiding the person who is seated to a standing position.

For more information on devices that can help you provide physical care, please visit At Home Solutions. There you will find resources, including community support. We are here to help you provide quality care at home.

Protect Your Back While Caring for a Loved One

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Kim McCreery No Comments

back injuryLifting or helping transfer someone, such as helping him or her move from a bed to a chair, can be hard on a caregiver’s back, especially if you haven’t been trained with the proper techniques. Improper lifting or transferring can result in an injury not only to you, the caregiver, but also to the person you are trying to help.

Back injuries to caregivers usually happen if they are not:

  • Trained in how to properly lift or transfer a person
  • Trained in how to properly use assistive devices
  • Able to recognize their physical limits
  • Physically capable of lifting or transferring
  • Able to recognize when to ask for help

So can you reduce your risk of being injured? Absolutely, and here are some tips that will help.

The most important thing to remember about staying safe is something that is also taught to healthcare workers: know when to ask for help. It may be an instinct to dive right in and do what needs to be done, but there are some situations when you should never try to lift someone alone, no matter how much you feel that you can. They include:

  • If the person has fallen on the floor
  • If the person is not cooperative or is combative
  • If you don’t feel you can do so safely

When people fall on the floor and can’t get back up on their own, it’s usually safest to try to make them as comfortable as possible, with a pillow under the head for example, and then get help.

Staying Safe While Lifting and Transferring

It may be tempting sometimes to cut corners and try to save time when lifting or transferring someone, but this can lead to injury to both you and your loved one. Here are some tips that caregivers should keep in mind for everyone’s safety:

  • Know your limits. Don’t lift or transfer someone you know will be too much for your ability.
  • Encourage the person being transferred to do as much as possible, such as bearing weight if he or she can.
  • Take cues from the person you are moving. Try to move at his or her speed, and watch for signs of discomfort or pain.

For more information on home care and proper body mechanics, please contact At Home Solutions. Our caregivers have been trained in how to lift and transfer clients in a safe and professional manner. Contact us to see how we can help you, with services ranging from personal care to respite care, so you can take a break, reducing the risk of fatigue or injury. Let us help you.