Preparing for a lift begins with the caregiver confirming that the prescribed procedure and equipment is the most appropriate or the client, determined by an assessment and should be conducted each time a caregiver prepares to carry out the procedure. Risk factor consideration should include the:
Lifts are done for clients who are physically unable to bear weight or cognitively unable to assist with the manoeuvre. A lift may be done manually or with an assistive device to move the entire body weight. Manual lifting is strongly discouraged and is often prohibited unless there is a life-threatening emergency.
Mechanical and ceiling lifting devices are engineering controls that decrease the risk of injury by eliminating the forceful exertion, awkward postures and repetitive motions associated with manual client lifting. Mechanical lifts must comply with CSA standards.
The purpose of a lifting device is to:
- Ensure that the client is secure and safe during the lift
- Reduce the physical demands of handling patients by eliminating or reducing the need to perform manual lifts
- Reduce the risk factors for MSDs
- Assist clients and move them from one surface to another when the client is:
- Not physically able to move themself
- Not mentally able to help with lifts
- Unable to bear weight using one or two legs or both arms
- May be unpredictable in physical support performance
The lifting devices come in a variety of designs and may be categorized as:
- Ceiling lifts
- Portable lifts – active and passive
- Stationary or fixed lifts
- Total-body lifts (passive lifts) also including ceiling lifts
- Ambulation lifts (active lifts)
- Bathtub and shower lifts
Mechanical lifts or ceiling lifts should be used to move non-weight-bearing clients:
- To and from a seated surface (wheelchair, geriatric chair, commode)
- Off the floor
- In and out of tubs/showers
Sling selection, use, care, and maintenance are essential to the safety and comfort of patients. Most sling manufacturers offer many options. The condition and size of the client(s) being lifted in the slings must be considered to ensure a proper fit. Slings should not be left in position under the client (unless designed/manufactured to do so and documented in the client assessment). Most heavy equipment suppliers have published comprehensive guides that can assist with the use and care of the slings. Only slings designed for that specific equipment must be used. Slings should be inspected thoroughly before every use.
Examples of sling types may include but is not limited to:
- Hygiene split leg
- Repositioning sling
Sliding, Repositioning and Transfer Aids
Slider / repositioning sheets: A low-friction product/sheet that reduces the force required to pull or push a client during a lateral slide procedure or movement on the same surface to assist with repositioning.
Anti-slip repositioning sheets: Small sheets placed on the chair’s seat and help prevent the client from sliding forward due to the unidirectional anti-slip properties of the sheet.
Repositioning slings: Some mechanical ceiling lift manufacturers have developed repositioning slings and procedures to reposition and/or turn clients,
Transfer/walking belt: Ambulation belts assist with guiding balance during activities such as standing, walking, or transferring a weight bearing client.
Transfer/slider board: This is used to assist with transferring a sitting client from one surface to another (by sliding on the surface of the board) at the same height.
Transfer disc: A floor aid used for clients with difficulty moving or pivoting their feet during a transfer.