For the elderly, infirm and disabled, home care often requires home equipment and mobility aids to support the person’s daily living. Hoists are a commonly used piece of mobility equipment specifically used to move people with very limited mobility.
We will explain what type of hoists are used in home care, how they are used and what alternatives are available. Additionally, how home care providers like Trinity Homecare can take away the worries of mobility support and finding the right equipment for your loved one.
What is a hoist or lift used for?
A hoist is simply a type of mechanical device for lifting that can work to elevate someone from a sitting position and move them safely into another area, such as a bathtub, seat, or bed. Some hoists can even carry patients horizontally between areas in a room.
In health and social care, hoists are essential to the medical staff and carers, as they allow carers to move the person without causing much discomfort or pain. They also protect the care worker from lifting related injuries. Hoists make bathing and moving an individual immensely more manageable.
What types of hoists are used in home care?
The type of hoist used in home care will depend on a person’s individual needs and the home environment where the hoist is used.
There are three options available for home care hoisting, they are:
- Wheeled or mobile hoists
- Stationary hoists
- Ceiling lifts
Even though most hoists are relatively easy to use, anyone operating or using one needs to receive safety training to avoid injury. Some people receiving home care need complex care, so it’s essential to receive suitable training to ensure the person is completely safe when using the mechanical device, as it will be used frequently.
What are wheeled or mobile hoists?
A mobile hoist or wheeled hoist is the most common type of hoist used in home care today. Mobile and wheeled hoists are free-standing and designed to support the person being transported in a harness or sling suspended from an arm. The sling is carefully fitted around the individual when they are seated or lying down. The person can then be hoisted up vertically using the electric motor, and the hoist is fully wheeled into a new destination before the person is lowered.
What is a stationary hoist?
Stationary hoists are mounted to the floor or a wall. As the name suggests, they cannot be moved. Although the base of the hoist is fixed, a support arm pivots to transfer the person sideways. Stationary hoists use a sling or harness similar to that of a wheeled hoist.
If you are thinking about getting a stationary hoist, you need to consider the wall or floor and whether they can support the person’s weight and the hoist. The hoist needs to reach all the places the person needs to go without any obstructions during the relocation.
Other considerations include the arc of the hoist swing (to ensure it reaches the desired locations) and making sure that clear space is available for the wheelchair during the transfer to and from the hoist. The primary design consideration for a stationary hoist is the structural strength of the floor or wall it is attached to, so the advice of a structural engineer is a must.
What is a ceiling hoist?
Ceiling hoists are electrically powered and mounted to the ceiling on a track. Tracks are installed to the ceiling with a patient hoist attached, allowing users to move freely along the length of the track.
Track switches and turntables can be installed to enable the patients to change their direction of travel (for example, to navigate between rooms) and to move from one track to another. The tracks can cover entire rooms and are usually operated by a hand-held control system, which gives the person being hoisted the independence to move freely or with less support from a caregiver.
When choosing a ceiling hoist, there are several lifting equipment regulations to be aware of. The joists on the ceiling need to be reinforced significantly, and the door frames need to be changed to accommodate the ceiling hoists. This type of adaptation requires the advice of a structural engineer.
What alternatives are there for hoists in home care?
Depending on a person’s level of mobility, and the environment in which they are being moved, there are some alternatives available. For example, if an individual has some upper body strength and is able to stand for a short period, a Patient Turner, also known as a ReTurn, could be used.
A patient turner is a manual piece of equipment that allows a carer to help a person go from a sit-to-stand position and then back into a sit position from one seat to the next within a very close distance. It is used in the moving and handling process to safely assist patients in moving from a bed, chair or wheelchair to stand and then sit on an alternate seat already positioned next to them.
Patient turners require the individual being moved to hold on to the top bar as the Patient turner is titled back (to bring them to an upright position) and then turned (to position them in front of the seat they are being moved to) before the Patient turner is slowly tilted forward to drop/position the person into the seat. Even though these aids come with a strap to hold the person to the Patient turner, they are not designed to move a person around a room or from one room to another.
For people who have difficulty bearing weight through both legs, a transfer board can be an alternative to a hoist. Transfer boards, also known as sliding boards, are commonly rigid, flat boards made of wood or plastic. They can be the full length of a person’s body for moving people as they lie down or can be shorter boards used to transfer people in a seated position.
The transfer board acts as a bridge to allow individuals to move from one seated surface to another, such as moving from a wheelchair to a bed. Transferring in this fashion allows the user to move with small, gradual movements versus one large motion.
Glide or Slide Sheets are incredibly useful and easy to use; they are designed to eliminate the need for lifting. This ensures that the transfer is easier, safer and more comfortable for both the carer and the patient.
Slide sheets can be used when a person is lying down to assist with repositioning, toileting or washing, for example. To use a slide sheet, the individual is rolled onto their side, and one slide sheet is laid out next to the individual’s back. The second slide sheet is laid out on the bed and against the person’s back. The individual is then rolled onto their back. Using the two slide sheets laid on top of each other, it is easy to slide the individual or, if the person has some leg or arm strength, they may be able to slide themselves.
How can I get a hoist for home care?
If you or a loved one require a mobility hoist for the home, there are several ways you can get advice as to which device is most suitable and how to obtain one.
There are many mobility aid companies selling a wide range of home aids and lifting devices to buy privately. These companies offer advice but will do so without knowing the abilities of the person being transferred and the suitability of the environment in which it is to be used.
Another option is to involve your local authority by requesting a care needs assessment. A care needs assessment establishes what a person can and cannot do by themselves and will offer advice and recommendations for mobility aids for the home and/or support from a professional home care provider, such as Trinity Homecare.
A care needs assessment is usually coupled with a financial needs assessment if the person requiring support needs help to fund the home care they require. In this scenario, mobility aids, such as hoists, are loaned to the individual from the NHS, usually free of charge.
One of the many advantages to receiving home care is that professional carers are knowledgeable and experienced with different mobility aids and can suggest suitable options. A fully regulated home care provider, such as Trinity Homecare, will work closely with an individual’s existing healthcare team. If a home carer identifies a need for a particular device, it can be easily requested from the local authority on a free loan basis.
The benefits of home care with Trinity Homecare
If you or a loved one is living with reduced mobility at home, employing the services of a home care provider like Trinity Homecare can make a significant difference to your loved one’s ability to live comfortably and independently at home.
Not only does home care offer a complete solution to supporting a person living with reduced mobility to live a full and happy life at home, but the help of professional carers to move and transfer a person carefully has many advantages. Some of the benefits include;
Safe transfers with trained carers
Moving and transferring people is not without risk for both the individual and the carer. Having a trained and experienced carer means that transfers will be as safe as possible, minimising risks and potential injury to both the individual and carer.
Peace of mind
Home care brings peace of mind not just to the individual but also to their family. Knowing that your loved one is being well cared for, safe and happy provides reassurance to all involved.
Continuity of care and professional input
Having a professional care provider involved in the care of a loved one means they can offer invaluable professional advice and recommendations to give your loved one the best care possible. Not only that, but as needs change, the home care provider is able to seamlessly adapt care, including equipment used, to ensure continuity of care throughout.
It is a common misconception that home care is the most expensive type of care for the elderly or those with limited mobility. The reality is home care comes in many different forms, from visiting care that may only be a few visits a week all the way through to round-the-clock live-in care. The costs of which can vary greatly.
Home care can be very cost-effective when compared to a residential home, for example, and when all the benefits are considered – such as the ability to remain living in a much-loved home while receiving personalised one-to-one care – it’s easy to see why many people consider home care to be the preferred choice.
Gives family caregivers a helping hand
Caring for a loved one can be both rewarding and challenging. Nevertheless, caring is a tough job and everyone, no matter what age or walk of life, will need a break and time to rest and recuperate. Home care can be employed as a long-term care solution, meaning family carers are able to meet their other responsibilities in life, or as temporary respite care to give existing carers a much-needed break.
How to arrange home care with Trinity Homecare
If you think home care could benefit you, or you just want to look into the options available, our friendly care team is available seven days a week to answer all your questions.