Using 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.