We’re asked a lot about the best way to move patients from one of our chairs to a bed or wheelchair. While it’s important to note that every patient is different and should only be moved following a thorough assessment of their needs, there are some general principles that should be followed in most cases.
Before you begin the transfer, make sure that the patient is as close to the required destination as possible, so as to avoid unnecessary time lifting. If you are transferring to a wheelchair make sure the wheels are locked and it is close enough that you can move the patient in as few steps as possible.
Correct Seating Position
Before you attempt to move the patient, make sure they are in a correct seated position. If they have been using the Tilt-in-Space function, return the chair to the neutral position with the back straight and the footrest folded away. This ‘default’ position will often be marked on the chair.
Lock the Chair
If the chair is on wheels, make sure the brakes are on so that there is no movement during the lift. Likewise, if there are any moving parts to the chair such as arm or foot rests, make sure that these are fixed in place.
Choosing a Sling
For most patients a sling will be the most effective way to lift them from their Recliners chair. Types of sling range from a full body sling that cocoons a patient from the knees to the head, spreading the weight evenly, to a single strap that is wrapped around the base of the patient’s back. The type of sling you choose will depend on the mobility of the patient and how you plan to lift them. For example, hoists generally use a full body sling, while manual lifting can often be done with a strap.
Avoid Injuries with a Sling
One important thing to be aware of when using a sling is that you are not putting undue pressure on any injuries. For example, a full body sling could aggravate a shoulder if a patient has an existing injury, so in this case you would drop the sling to stop beneath the armpits. Slings also have the potential to aggravate pressure ulcers. In this case, make sure there is space between the patient and the chair when passing the sling behind them. You can use the footrest to raise the legs slightly and create the required space.
Depending on the patient’s condition and the circumstances, there are different ways you may choose to perform the transfer.
Using a Hoist
If you have a hoist available it can be the easiest way to lift a patient, especially if they are unable to offer much assistance during the transfer. While there are many different types of hoist, a good general rule is to remember to position the hoist at an angle that allows for easy transfer. This will usually mean approaching the patient from a side angle rather than straight on.
If a hoist is not available and/or the patient is able to offer some assistance with the lift, you may be able to move them manually. Position the sling as normal and stand facing the patient. Align your knees with theirs to give a point of resistance and stop their knees from buckling. Bend your knees and keep a straight back before you start the lift. When you are ready, hold the sling and use your weight to pull back and lift the patient. Turn them slowly towards the new location and lower them gently into place.
If you have any questions regarding transferring patients from a Recliners chair or would like a demonstration, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.