A patient lift is designed for transferring patients from one location to another such as from a bed to a chair, or from a chair to a bath. They can be powered manually or with an electrical power source. A powered version usually has a rechargeable battery, and a manual one uses hydraulics for lifting and lowering patients. The medical lift can help reduce the risk of injury to both patients and caregivers. Oftentimes, families obtain a patient lift when making a hospital to home transition.

Safe Operation of a Patient Lift

There are best practices as outlined by the FDA to help reduce the risk of injury when using a patient lift. Generally, users should:

  • Receive proper training to understand how the patient lift operates.
  • Be certain the sling matches the capacity of the lift and the weight of the patient. Slings are not one-size-fits-all and each manufacturer’s sling must be approved for use with their lifts.
  • Inspect the fabric and straps on the sling to be certain there are no frayed or stressed seams or any other damage. At the first sign of wear, the sling should be replaced.
  • Make certain all hanger bars, latches, and clips are fastened securely when using the transfer lift.
  • Ensure the legs, or base, of the medical lift, are in the open (maximum) position so the lift remains stable during the transfer.
  • The patient’s arms and legs should be kept inside the straps of the sling.
  • Don’t initiate a transfer if the patient is restless or agitated.
  • Wheelchairs, stretchers, chairs, and hospital beds are usually equipped with locks on the wheels. Be certain these are engaged before moving the patient.
  • Do not exceed the weight limitations on the lift or the sling.
  • Manufacturers provide instructions for washing and taking proper care of the sling, be certain to follow them to improve the sling’s longevity.
  • Create your own maintenance safety inspection checklist for your lift. This helps you detect worn or damaged parts that need to be replaced immediately.

Instructions for Using A Medical Lift

When first making the hospital to home transfer, make sure to read the instructions included with the lift. The goal is to keep both caregivers and patients safe during transfers when using lifts. Following the best practices can help reduce risks of injury to both parties.

If your loved one is transitioning from a hospital or a nursing facility and you need a lift to ensure safety, contact Next Day Access for more information.