In case a member of your family is dealing with a mobility issue, then you are most probably aware of how useful a Hoyer lift can be in many situations. If you want to read our latest article that compares multiple top-rated Hoyer lifts and analyzes what each one of them has to offer in terms of benefits, you can check it out here.
If, however, you are not that familiar with this topic at the moment, you might want to take a moment and understand what a Hoyer lift is, how it works, and more importantly, who makes these devices. It’s important to get an overall picture before you venture into the pool of products you can choose from, in order to make sure that the one you get is the one you need.
Before getting into a few more technical details, let’s take a moment and talk about what a Hoyer lift actually is. These extremely useful devices help patients with reduced mobility to get into and out of bed, most of the times. The standard construction includes a pad that is connected to the lift’s frame, as well as an electric or hydraulic pump that can lift the person in the process.
These medical devices do require a caregiver that knows how to operate them in order to make sure that no accident happens. It’s crucial for the user’s safety not to operate the device alone or to have it done by someone who is not specially trained to do this.
So who makes them?
As we’ve mentioned, these are specialized devices, and they are, most of the time, found in retirement or nursing homes. You need to be aware that they do have a medical component in their design, so the first place to look for one is at medical equipment manufacturers.
The first manufacturer of Hoyer lifts was Ted Hoyer, a student, and athlete who suffered an accident that left him a quadriplegic. Once his condition was stable, Ted Hoyer realized that he needed to find a way to improve his mobility, and that is when he created this device.
Today, the Hoyer lift is sold in thousands of retail outlets across the United States and it’s made by multiple manufacturers of medical equipment. If you need to better understand how such a device works and see it in real life, then you can either visit the closest retirement home in your area and see if they can help you with a few advices, or see if any local events can help.
Many times, there are medical equipment fairs and expos across the country, so if you check out their dates online, you might be in luck and see an upcoming one in your area. The important thing to keep in mind here is that even if you think a certain manufacturer or model has the right device, you still need to get a medical opinion before purchasing a new Hoyer lift.
Types of Hoyer lifts
As you can only imagine, Hoyer lifts do come in more than one shape and size, and there are several main types you can choose from. The first one is the manual Hoyer lift, a device also known as a hydraulic one. The name correctly indicates that hydraulic cylinders are powered by a hand pump which can lift the patient, making things easier for the caregiver.
Even though this construction definitely helps, it’s even easier for caregivers to use a device that runs on electricity, which brings us to the next category, namely the power Hoyer lift. This alternative doesn’t require manual pumping and it also involves fewer risks when it comes to transferring a patient.
The third category includes the sit-to-stand Hoyer lifts, which are devices specially made to assist patients who cannot rise from a sitting position or stand up straight. These devices are more portable and lightweight and can be found with both manual or power options.
Such a stand-assist lift is most of the times used to transfer a patient between sitting positions, for example from a wheelchair to a stationary chair, or the other way around. Choosing the right type of Hoyer lift depends solely on the patient’s needs.
How do they work?
As you’ve seen, there are several alternatives when it comes to the types of Hoyer lifts you can choose from, but they all work for the same primary function, namely making the process of transferring a person from one location to another an easier one.
Hoyer lifts come with slings that need to be carefully positioned underneath the patient before operating the device. The caregiver needs to make sure that these slings are properly placed to ensure the necessary support, this step being crucial to minimize the risk of accidents.
The specific action (whether the patient faces the caregiver, etc.) depends on the type of transferring action if it is from a seated position or from a bed. However, the patient’s weight needs to be centered over the base legs, and these should be carefully extended for maximum stability.
Once this is done, depending on the type of Hoyer lift that is being used, the caregiver can proceed to activate the lifting mechanism by either pumping it or pressing a button. When the patient is ready to be lowered, the operator can turn the release valve located next to the pump handle, or press the lowering-function button.
One of the key aspects that you need to keep in mind is that any Hoyer lift should be operated only by caregivers who are properly trained. Even in retirement homes, not everyone working there is able to handle such a device, but it does involve some risks, especially since we’re talking about elderly patients.
You should keep in mind that loved family members who are dealing with mobility issues cannot properly react in case they fall down, and elderly ones are even more prone to developing aggravated conditions in such an event. Therefore, no matter who the caregiver is, whether it’s an expert or a family member, he or she should go through some form of training.
Moreover, a little practice beforehand in order to get used to the device itself is a very good idea. There were some unfortunate cases of accidents resulting from improper use of Hoyer lifts, and these never have good outcomes, so do take all the necessary measures to prevent any of this from happening.
After all, our loved ones need to have the best care, and properly handling a Hoyer lift is a crucial step in this process. Just to get an idea of the importance of this aspect, many times the internal regulations of nursing homes require two operators at the same time, when transferring a patient from one location to another, to make sure that no risks are taken.
Furthermore, this is not what can be called a cheap device to purchase (or even rent, as some people do), so it’s a very good idea to protect it throughout time, thus avoid accidents that might damage it as well, besides hurting the patient. By doing so, the person who needs it can use it for as long as it is necessary.