Hoyer Lift Help?
I regularly read a blog Dream Mom, who posts about her child with severe special needs. Dream Mom recently had back surgery and is struggling more so than normal. She is having trouble with her Hoyer lift and could really use some advice on a mechanical issue. If you occupational therapists or engineering minds have any tips you'd like to post here or over on her blog based on the problem she describes, please do so, I'm sure she would really appreciate it. I'm copy/pasting her post in full just to make it more likely it gets read. She can be found at http://dreammom.blogspot.com/
“I am having difficulty with Dear Son's Hoyer Lift. I have an Invacare Hoyer Lift (It's a rental and converts to a purchase once it reaches the purchase price; it did not come with an instruction manual.) and a full body sling that provide head support and does not have a commode opening. I have read the sling manual that I received with the purchase of the sling. I know the sling is the correct size because the therapists measured him and because I was able to use it properly the first time.
Problem: I am attempting to use the Hoyer Lift to get him out of his hospital bed and into the wheelchair. I can get the sling positioned properly, I can lift him with the lift however the problem arises when I release him into his wheelchair. I can't seem to get Dear Son's rear into the seat of his wheelchair. I keep falling short and Dear Son's rear end ends up on the front of the seat and I have to lift him up to position his rear end in the back part of the seat of the wheelchair. I did it successfully on Wednesday, so I know it's possible but I haven't been able to do it since.
When I attach the sling onto the Hoyer Lift, I am using the second loop (I have fabric sling hooks and not chains.) closest to his head and attaching that. I can't use the loop closet to his head because I can't seem to pull it up enough to attach it to the Hoyer Lift.
I have the Hoyer Lift positioned dead center over his waist and in the full release position when I am hooking the sling to the lift.
I am guiding him into the wheelchair however he needs be more upright in the sling so that when I lower him into the chair he is in a more upright position so I don't have to lift him. I am using the second loop on the bottom of the sling as well, because if I use one further away, I can't lift him up high enough to move him off of the bed.
If I have to lift him to get him positioned into the chair, it would be a lot less aggravation for me to just lift him into the wheelchair than to waste the time to get him into the sling, move the sling to the wheelchair and then have to lift him into the wheelchair anyway. However, I am trying to be a good patient and use this mechanical lift.
As you can see from the picture, The Hoyer Lift has tiny instructions that are attached to the round bars on the Hoyer Lift however they are in a small font and go almost all the way around the lift. The print is so small, that it didn't even show up on the picture, and I was standing pretty close to it. I can't read such tiny font and I can't read in circles since the instructions go half way around the bar. What genius thought of this?
As you may have surmised, I have no patience and no mechanical ability when it comes to these things.
I tried to search for instructions for the lift online at Invacare's website however the search tool couldn't locate them. I have a vendor coming on Monday however unfortunately, Dear Son needs to get out of bed prior to Monday evening.
Problem #2: I can't seem to get this legs of the Hoyer Lift to remain spread while I move/transport him. I can lock the legs in the full spread position however then the lift won't go through the three foot wide doorway. If I unlock the legs, then the legs move toward the center (you have to have the legs spread to support the weight of the patient). Does anyone have any ideas on how I can lock the legs when they spread less the full open position? I need to be able to transport him with the legs spread about 70% to fit through the doorway and I need it to lock in place. Here's a picture of the base. In the lift I used at the Respite House, it five slots in the bottom that you could hook the metal post in to lock it in place.
Yes, technically, I know you aren't supposed to transport him however I don't have much space in his bedroom so I am transporting him from his bed to the wheelchair in the dining room, which is about ten feet away. I have been assured this is o.k. from one of the nurses who came to my apartment. She checked the base and wasn't sure how this particular one worked and she uses Hoyer Lifts every day.