Has anyone used a Hoyer lift?

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Anyone had experience with a Hoyer or other lift? I have to bring Mom home from rehab and they are recommending one, but I have zero... I mean zero... mechanical ability, and I'm small and not that strong, and Mom outweighs me by a good sixty pounds, at least. The aide I hire has used one with a previous client, but I'm afraid I can't do it, and that this means time for full time home care or placing her, and I know she would give up quickly in a nursing home. I don't want to do that, but I think she's at the point where I can no longer care for her, unless I hire a lot more help. The thought of using one of these contraptions myself is giving me a full blown panic attack. I feel so stupid, but when I looked at the directions and watched a youtube video, I thought no way can I do this. My lack of mechanical ability is so bad it's like a form of dyslexia, and also, Mom outweighs me by about 70 pounds.

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Dana, there was another thread about using hoyers a couple of months ago. Perhaps you could get more answers there.
         My siblings and I and professional caregivers used a hoyer lift for many years for my father in his home (now he resides in a nursing facility). Yes, at first it can be daunting, but we all learned how to use it quickly. It is a remarkable invention that enabled my father to stay in his home years after he became unable to transfer from his bed to wheelchair and back again. Everytime I used it I would marvel at the genius of it. I believe it was invented by a quadriplegic named Ted Hoyer many years ago. Of course, the design has had many innovations since then.
      My father weighs around 200 lbs. and the hydraulic lift can be used by a person half that size. I only had trouble getting the hoyer pad or sling under my father while he was seated in his wheelchair, but that was avoided by leaving the sling under him in the wheelchair. Also, I believe that they now have new hoyer slings that are easier to attach and remove. Go on You Tube and you can see videos of a little old lady using a hoyer to lift someone much larger. A physical therapist told me that our hoyer could lift over 500 lbs.!
       The issue with this lack of mobility is that if your mother needs one to get in and out of bed, she probably needs one to use the bathroom too, and even though the hoyer lift is a remarkable invention, it does take much more effort and time on the part of the caregiver. A man can easily use a urinal, but obviously, not a woman. We did not have a bathroom large enough to accommodate a lift to the toilet so my father, who was already wearing adult pullups, had to be lifted into bed to be cleaned up after a bowel movement. 
        Did rehab say she will always need a hoyer, or is it temporary? You need to have a nurse from the rehab come out to your house to assess the suitability of the rooms. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and steps taken before your mother can be brought home. Please let us know how you and she are doing.
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Reply to Treeartist
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Some people who the lift is for may panic when it starts moving some don’t. Also once you get your mother settled in her chair leave the sling under her. We would tuck the straps so they were out of the way while Resident was sitting in chair. This way when you’re ready to use Hoyer again you just have to attach the straps.
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Reply to LisaNJ
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I've used a Hoyer lift many times. Ideally it should be used by 2 people but when a Hoye is in a private home it's usually manned by just one person.

I was never comfortable with them. The Hoyer we had when I worked in a hospital was amazing. Very user friendly and it had electronic guides on a screen to show the user if the sling was correctly placed under the patient. Then I go to hospice and see what you accurately described as a contraption.

And even though I used them numerous times, like you, they gave me panic attacks.

My suggestion would be to NOT begin using it until you are 100% comfortable with it. Watch YouTube videos and have OT or PT come and train you on it and don't let them leave until you are confident in using it. And you will become confident. You'll learn which hooks go with which loops and how to position the sling under your mom. Your mom will also be able to get a sense of when the sling isn't properly placed.

You don't have to be strong or tall to operate a Hoyer. You just have to have a good working elbow to crank the thing up. It has a pneumatic sensor that lowers the person easily and softly down.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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You can try to be with mom during her PT and ask those questions before discharge for their expert advice. I heard that 2 people need to operate it. She should be able to roll herself onto the pad part. Her weight may be the problem. I would hate to see you permantly injure your back
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Reply to MACinCT
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Dana, you do not need any significant physical strength to operate a Hoyer lift. That is kind of what they're for! - to supply the muscle to move people safely :)

BUT to operate one safely, you DO need to be trained to use it and to be confident enough using it to concentrate on what you're doing, without haste or panic.

The best way is to do it under supervision. Ask the rehab teams to show you, then ideally let you assist with transfers while they watch you. And if you are using it at home, then perhaps at least to begin with work with an aide, and at all times - if in doubt, DON'T.

And while you're at it, ask them to demonstrate slide sheets. They are magic.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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My Mother also is in SNF..she started out in Assisted Living..my mother is doing so much better in SNF, she is busy all day with activities and also folds towels for the hair dresser, goes to church downstairs every Sunday. My mother did none of these things in AL. My mom has very good care, better than I could ever do.   I know in a facility any lift is a two person assist, I don’t know about in a private home.
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Reply to LisaNJ
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I never understand when people say " my parent will give up/die/wither away in a Nursing Home.

My mom thrived in a Nursing Home! She'd had a stroke, then broke her hip and we were sure she was done for. Those folks nursed her back to health, got her walking and helped her survive several bouts of pneumonia.

Your mom needs professional full time care. She needs her loving daughter as her advocate and visitor, not as a panicked, stressed, mechanically disinclined caregiver.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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