There are many questions around electric Hoyer lifts for home use, and one of them is “who needs to use one?”. Moreover, the same question applies when it comes to Hoyer lifts in general, not just electric ones for home users. For this reason, we’ve decided to take a closer look at this matter and bring you all the answers you need.
However, before getting into more details on the types of individuals who can benefit from using such a device, we should take a moment and talk about Hoyer lifts in general, so that you can get a good idea about how these units work and what benefits they bring.
One of the first things you might want to know is that these devices go by many names within the healthcare industry, including jack hoist, patient hoist, and hydraulic lift. The good part is that they all work toward accomplishing the same goal.
A Hoyer lift is a medical device specially made to assist caregivers in lifting and transferring patients from or into a chair, a bed, or another similar spot. When it comes to caregivers, these can be either professional personnel, nurses, or family members.
However, it’s very important to keep in mind that anyone handling a Hoyer lift needs to go through dedicated training in order to avoid any kind of potential accidents. Unfortunately, patients who benefit from a Hoyer lift are also more prone to potential accidents, such as falls, and cannot protect themselves well if this takes place.
With this being said, it’s good to know that Hoyer lifts accomplish the task of moving an individual from one sitting place to another by using a sling system. Moreover, such a unit can be either hydraulically or electrical powered, each option requiring a different amount of physical effort on the caregiver’s part.
On the top part, Hoyer lifts feature hooks onto which the slings attach, and the patients are then hoisted up using these. Since there are various options when it comes to the ways in which such a system is operated, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with each one.
A manual lift, for example, greatly minimizes the amount of effort required on the caregiver’s part to help someone who is either fully or just partially immobile. One of the main advantages is that a single person can operate such a Hoyer lift, most of the times, while also protecting the patient in the process.
On the other hand, for more complex systems or for particular patients, it’s recommended to have two persons handle the Hoyer lift. Moreover, nursing homes usually require two caregivers to do this as a general safety rule, since patients are unable to protect themselves in case something goes wrong.
How is a Hoyer lift used?
In case you have never used a Hoyer lift before, it’s a good idea to take some time and research this topic before handling one. Knowing the basics, at least, can definitely help prevent potential accidents. It’s an even better approach to go and talk to a professional in order to grasp all the tips and tricks beforehand.
In case you have a nursing home in your area, you can inquire whether Hoyer lifts are used within the facility and see if a caregiver can help you with more information, or even a small training that will definitely come in handy, if you are planning to take care of a family member in the comfort of your home.
Among the basic notions you should be aware of, it’s the fact that the patient’s body weight needs to always be centered over the base’s legs since this works to keep the entire unit steady. Moreover, many models come with adjustable bases in order to make this process easier.
Manual Hoyer lifts use hydraulic cylinders in order to enable the caregiver to easily hoist the patient. These are operated by using a hand pump, and all you need to do most of the times is to pump until the unit reaches the desired position. Once this is done, you will need to carefully lower the patient down, using the hydraulic pressure release knob.
Electric powered units work in pretty much the same way, but they include rechargeable batteries, as well as buttons to lift and lower patients.
Who needs a Hoyer lift?
Now we’ve reached the main question of this article, namely who needs to use such a device. The answer to this question depends on a wide range of factors, including the availability of specialized care and the patient’s condition. However, in general, anyone dealing with limited mobility can be a suitable candidate for a patient lift.
The main aspect you need to consider is the individual’s condition since in some cases a Hoyer lift can be merely an aid, while in others it’s a mandatory solution. For example, in case someone uses a walker and only needs a little bit of assistance when it comes to getting into and out bed or chair, then a Hoyer lift might not be mandatory.
On the other hand, if the caregiver or spouse is unable to sustain this person’s weight and provide the needed assistance, then such a device makes things a lot easier for both of them.
In the case of patients who are dealing with complete immobility, then a patient lift is definitely needed. Most of the times, such individuals cannot live alone, which means that they constantly have a caregiver around. A Hoyer lift is actually of greater help for the person providing the care, but it also protects the patient.
According to some studies, Hoyer lifts are most of the times used for individuals who require between 90% and 100% assistance when it comes to getting into and out of bed.
Another thing that you should know is that these units do require a significant amount of space in order to be properly maneuvered in a home, so you might need to make some adjustments when it comes to the furniture as well.
A few words about caregivers
As you can probably tell, Hoyer lifts are equally important for caregivers as they are for the patients. Since those handling the device have the responsibility of doing this while inflicting as little pain as possible in the process and also protecting the patient, they need to be properly trained.
These devices not only ensure that the patient is safe while he or she is being transferred, but they also allow the caregiver to prevent some serious back strains, pulled muscles, or trauma. The patient, on the other hand, may also be more relaxed knowing that the caregiver has the right tool to do the transfer in a safe and comfortable way.
According to those experienced in providing care for immobile individuals, it can sometimes be nerve-racking for someone who knows that he or she is going to be raised from the bed or a chair. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take a few extra minutes and talk to the patient, explaining the process and what is going to happen, so that they cooperate in a safe way.
Do keep in mind that getting some tips and tricks from experienced caregivers is a great way to start if you need to provide this type of care for a family member.