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We just had a visit from a Occupational Therapist who painted a discouraging picture of what it was like to use a Hoyer lift to transfer a family member to the commode. However, she readily admitted to not being an expert with the Hoyer lifts, so I would like to hear from others about their experiences.


We plan to get a Hoyer lift soon, and I wonder if it is possible to successfully move an elderly, continent man to the commode and back to the bed using a commode sling. Do you have any recommendations on which sling? The OT was completely unhelpful with this. If we only get one sling through Medicare, I would think the full body one with commode opening is the best. My husband does not get out of bed often, so mostly it would be used for the commode once a day for BM and to move to the recliner. Can someone transfer and then sit fully dressed on the commode sling in a recliner for a few hours a day without getting a pressure ulcer?


Thanks!

There are several videos demonstrating transfer to toilet using hoyer life on you tube. Just go to youtube and search hoyer lift transfer to toilet. You will probably find this useful.
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Reply to pjones1280
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If you are looking for slings and Hoyer lifts go on line with your computer. A good number of slings are available through various companies as well as Hoyer (Patient Lifts). My lift is manual, supplied by Medicare, as my wife is unable to walk or stand. I purchased a sling made of blue nylon with fabric top and bottom straps to supplement the one provided with the Lift about 6 plus years ago and it is still operational.
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Julia: You're welcome.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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When taking your family member to the bathroom remember that you will need room to move the Hoyer Lift around. I move my wife carefully in a low position to avoid any tipping as we round corners. There is no problem rash or pressure ulser being in the sling from 4-5 hours. If a rash does occur I use the A&D product that is in the Supermarket or in any pharmacy.
I have been moving my wife with a Hoyer for the last 6 1/2 years. Works great.
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JuliaRose Feb 2, 2019
Thanks, Majinf. It’s good to hear that it’s worked for your wife. I’m hoping it will work for us, too.
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I used a Hoyer lift at home in the last months of my mother's life.

I think the first thing I would do is consult a different OT! - or a PT, or an experienced caregiver come to that; but in any case someone who *did* have well practised experience of using these lifts.

I - I won't say "trained," exactly - was shown what to do at rehab before my mother came home after her stroke; then I read all the instructions and took it step by step, perhaps a touch obsessionally. The OT and others may tell you this is a two-person job, and in care settings so it is; but I have to admit that not only were there rarely two persons in our house, but also in one or two cases the aides were so useless I had to stop them. So I did it myself, and apart from clonking myself on the head with the crossbar a couple of times no harm was done.

Find out what sort of lift will be prescribed. Go to the manufacturer's own website and download the specifications and the instructions. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them. When you have the equipment delivered, practise on yourself (it's quite fun!).

As with many bits of kit, at first you fear you'll never get the hang of it - but you soon do. The key difference here is that you cannot afford to make mistakes; so practise, but not on the person, until you are confident.

Two key points about fitting the sling to the person: you MUST get it straight, or your liftee will be skewed uncomfortably when hoisted; and you want to be very slow and deliberate with all straps, because the strong fabric's edges can easily abrade delicate skin with haste or roughness or if they're wrongly placed.

A person can sit on the sling in a recliner, wheelchair or whatever, it isn't a problem in itself; but these are man-made materials, not breathable, and of course you will need to check that the straps and clips are well out of the way.

Get at least one spare sling. They are machine washable, and I believe there are different qualities of material, too; you might find some better adapted than others for your purposes.

What else... Floor covering. The hoists are designed for institutional-type floors and don't much like domestic carpets. If you have to contend with carpeting you will need to be especially careful when moving the hoist with the person aboard, to keep movement under control. If your carpets are really deep or soft, you might have to take them up temporarily.

I don't mean to make this sound more complicated than it is - it's a bit like learning to drive, sort of, I suppose - but I would urge you to get someone to show you, and ideally supervise you a time or two.

Are you reasonably strong? Do you have help with transferring your husband?
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The spinal cord injury rehab had lifts mounted on a track on the ceiling by the patient's beds. It definitely made the rooms less crowded. It seemed to work great.

I remember reading an interesting blog written by the wife of a quadriplegic man detailing the first few years after his accident; after his injury they moved to a one-level house better suited to their needs, including a ceiling mounted lift that went from the bedroom to the bathroom. It sounded nice, especially for a younger paralyzed person who still was able to work and hence needed to keep to a more normal work and family schedule as much as possible.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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That looks so similar to an engine lift for a car. Something I'm familiar with. I've always thought that an engine lift would make a great way to lift someone out of bed. Engine lifts are only about $200. I wonder what makes this cost $2000.

I also think that a frame or ceiling mounted overhead engine lift would be a great way to move someone around their room. Many are motorized so you just use a controller to move it around. Should cost less than $2000 and since it's builtin, nuch less cumbersome to use. If it can handle a engine that weighs hundreds of pounds, it should be able to handle a person that weights 100lbs.
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Jnwitt Jan 31, 2019
Interesting idea! That sounds like something my dad would have come up with when he was alive. :)
I wonder if you could attach a hoyer sling to the engine lift? That would be something I might be able to afford. Before when I considered a lift, I just decided it wasn't an option due to the price.
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Bumping up - not my specialty.
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JuliaRose Feb 2, 2019
Thanks!
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I or my sister use it alone all the time. I could see needing a 2nd person if the person being transferred was unusually large or had cognitive issues that prevented him or her from cooperating in a way that would be a safety risk.

Otherwise, totally fine to use solo.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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How many people are needed for the Hoyer lift? If needed, can 1 person (me) do it alone?
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Grandma1954 Jan 31, 2019
Technically a Hoyer advises 2 people but if you are in your own home you can operate it with 1 person. In a facility they would require 2 and when I had Hospice in they also required 2. But I had no problem operating it myself. I could get the sling on, hooked up and lifted without a problem, you do have to be careful so you do not "bonk" the person in the head with the overhead bar but moving them around is so easy it is not a problem.
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I used a Hoyer for quite a while for my Husband.
I used it to get him out of be onto a shower wheel chair then out of the shower wheel chair on to the bed then off the bed to his Broda Chair. He would stay in the Broda Chair until I checked/changed him. So the Hoyer lift served us quite well.
There are several types of slings.
Full sling
Split Leg sling
Mesh sling with commode hole
There are also leg straps called "Lavin Lift Strap" that you can use with a Hoyer that will allow you to lift the lower portion of the person and clean and change them without having to get them out of bed.

If the person you are getting out of bed can sit and hold onto a support and support their body weight a Sit To Stand might work. But if they can not support their body weight then the Hoyer is better. I did not want to give up the Sit To Stand I was using for my Husband but as he declined the switch to the Hoyer was made.
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JuliaRose Jan 30, 2019
That’s great to hear that you use the hoyer successfully. Yes, I too was hoping to get a sit-to-stand, but insurance won’t cover it, and there aren’t any available to rent that fit our needs. There’s no point to buy one for the amount of time we anticipate being able to use it. Therefore, it will be the Hoyer lift.
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There is another option to check out. If a person has the leg strength to support themselves (after grabbing the balance pole of a "Friendly Bed" to stand up) they could simply pivot onto the bedside commode (or into a wheelchair) and pivot themselves back into bed. If there is no leg strength (but reasonable arm strength) they could use the transfer bar option to move themselves onto commode (or into wheelchair) and then back into bed. The best part is no slings (or hoyers) to mess around with. The bonus is that a person is using their own muscles to a greater degree to "help themselves" which gives them a chance to build strength.
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Reply to FriendlyBedGuy
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We do exactly this with my quadriplegic father. We use a hand pump Hoyer lift with a commode sling (rented from the same home health supplies company; my dad doesn't have Medicare). Once a day we use a large commode chair for my dad's bowel program. First his pants and brief are pulled down and the sling set in place, in his wheelchair or bed. Then with the Hoyer lift we raise and move him to the commode chair and lower him into place. The Hoyer lift with sling stays in place as my dad sits there for his bowel program. We have the commode chair positioned in a corner of the bedroom by the TV and stereo, so my dad can watch a show or listen to the radio, or both (!), during the process. Dad's bedroom has wood floors, which definitely makes rolling the Hoyer around easier (I'm not sure how it would work with carpeting). The Hoyer stays in the bedroom as we do all transferring (to and from bed, wheelchair and commode chair) in that one room.

The OT's at the spinal cord injury rehab center where my dad was after his injury trained my sister and myself on how to use the Hoyer lift, including lowering onto a commode chair. We spent a lot of time on it and it was very valuable training. It's not rocket science, but it is quite helpful to have someone correcting your technique as you're doing it until you feel confident and comfortable.

Not sure what you mean about the sling being in place while your husband is in his recliner. Once you transfer the person to his recliner (or in my dad's case, his power wheelchair), you can easily remove the sling by sliding it from under the person's thighs one at a time and leaning them forward to pull it out from behind their back. So it doesn't have to be kept in place indefinitely.

There are YouTube videos that show this process but just now reviewing a few of them they make it seem more difficult than it is! You just need some hands-on training. How annoying that the OT you were sent couldn't properly advise you. It seems as though you will have to insist on the proper instruction your disabled husband needs and deserves.

Good luck!
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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JuliaRose Jan 30, 2019
Thanks! That’s great to hear. The reason I ask about sitting on the sling is because that’s what the OT suggested - that he constantly sit in it or lay on it so it’s ready to be used.
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That's a great idea. I think I'll call the hospital Homecare agency tomorrow and talk with them about seeing another OT.
Yes, I meant transferring to a bedside commode.
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Reply to JuliaRose
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I would contact the provider of your OT and request one that can actually do what they are paid to do.

I don't know much about them other then they require a lot of room to move someone. None of my bathrooms would accommodate a hoyer lift, but you could use a bedside commode chair. (That may be what you are referring to but my older family calls the toilet the commode.)
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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its like capitalism. Its not perfect, but the best system we have. Same with Hoyer, it is not easy, but better than any other option.
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JuliaRose Jan 28, 2019
Yes, I'm realizing that life is not getting easier and nothing is perfect, and often we have to just make do. The trick has been to try to get access to the resources that are available but hidden.
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