What type of patient lift is right for me?
When shopping for a patient lift you should consider the type of lifting or positioning that is required.
There are basically two (2) types of lifting devices:
• Device that requires a sling
Sling lifts are for patients who are disabled, or weak due to illness or injury or bariatric patients. These type of lifts are used in hospitals, nursing homes and in private homes to help safely transfer patients form their bed or chair to another sitting position.
• Sit to stand lifts
Sit to stand lifts are for those patient who do have some mobility but still need help to rise up from a sitting position to transfer to another seat. When using this lift the patient must be able to sit up unassisted and to be able to bear some of their own body weight while standing. This lift is valuable in the rehab process as it gradually encourages the patient to become more independent and bear more of their own body weight as they increase their strength.
Both of these patient lifts can be powered either manually using a hydraulic lift, or electric / battery powered lift that are powered by rechargeable batteries or a standard electrical outlet. The battery or electric type of lift is usually easier on the caregiver but more costly.
Slings come in a variety of sizes and types for the floor lifts or Hoyer lifts. These lifts have a wheeled base and require extra space around the bed for patient transfer. Sit to stand lifts use a series of belts or straps to hold the entire weight of the patient’s upper body. This helps them raise safely and slowly to a standing position with the caregiver’s help.
Features to consider:
• Weight capacity: Usual weight capacity varies with each machine and can range from 350 to 650 pounds. Special bariatric models may be available.
• Range of lift height: Lifts should offer a wide range of lift heights to reach low enough to accommodate a patient who may have fallen to the floor and can be lifted up to a high enough to lift patient up to a high mattress.
• Emergency shut –off / manual override switch: All electronic lifts should have a control to stop the lift motor in case of an emergency and should have a manual override so patients can be safely moved in case of a power loss.
• Scale: This option is a convenience for caregivers and health care providers to easily weigh patients while transferring them
• Slings: A number of specialized slings are available to suit a patients unique needs. Specialized slings include full body slings, disposable slings, mesh bathing slings and toileting slings.