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My goal is to keep mom with me til the end, and lately we have been having trouble with transfers so I asked for an assessment. Currently mom has days where she won't bear weight at all, and days where I can encourage her to take a step or two. The ceiling lift seems like a huge leap from where we are now, but maybe that is just me being in denial?

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If the house is older, the rigging in the attic may NOT work.
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CWillie, thanks for the insight. I kept trying to visualize how this would be done.
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GA, from what I have been reading if possible they lay a steel support above the ceiling joists/trusses and the rail is bolted to that.
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GreyGuy, I'm curious how and where the steel was installed in the attic. Was it sistered to the joists? Laid across the attic floor?
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Very thorough Grayguy, thanks!
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When the Ceiling track was installed they put a bunch of steel in the attic to support the load. Therefore they will need access to the attic. If I recall correctly they also have a system that they can use if they do not have access to the area above the ceiling but I am not sure any more. The lift also (at least in my area) needs to be certified every year.
Finally, I have to say that using a lift system is slow and it takes about an hour longer to get my wife up dressed and ready for the day so be prepared to spend more time when using a lift system. If you have help with your mother you will most likely have to train them how to use the lift, sling and how to transfer the motor between rooms. You will also need to add some time to their shifts this will be and additional expense.
Finally, I am so very happy I spent the money and had this system installed. Even thought we currently are not using it much, I know it will be needed in the not too distant future, I know it's there when and if its needed and that I now have enough equipment to keep my wife at home without hurting myself until the end.
Hope this helps!
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Last year my wife fell 19 times walking and transferring. I had a ceiling lift installed about 6 months ago. We haven't used it much because, much to my surprise and delight, my wife has recovered to the point that she can now transfer herself. She is 250 pounds so this may be different with your mother at 125 pounds. However, here are a few of the points I considered before making the purchase.
1) Our Bed room has carpet. You can use the Hoyer lift on carpet but it takes a lot of force to move the lift and patient and it is jerkily when the patient is in the sling. This causes the patient to swing in the lift. I considered putting some plywood down but:
2) How much stuff do you have in your way? With her bed, lift chair, scooter, walker and night stand are all close to where I need to lift her. With all this stuff in the way I concluded it was too dangerous for myself to use the Hoyer lift in this environment.
3) The cost to put her in the nursing home is about $10,000 a month (if you can find a good one)! I had her in assisted living previously for about 2 years and it was a disaster. From this experience and the experience I had with my grandmother and mother in law, I concluded that there were not any "good nursing homes" that I could trust in my area. I also concluded that the cost of the ceiling lift would be recovered in a couple of months.
4) My wife's desire to remain at home (until the end). How long this will be no one knows.
It took me 2 months of planning to get the correct design. You have to know exactly where, how and why you need to move your mother to and from. I can grantee that your first thoughts will not be the final lift design. By doing this we have a much better lift system and saved at least $5,000.00. You will need to get equipment companies involved and see what their thoughts are. However, you will have to think independently from them. I had them redesign our lift system at least 5 times before the final design was done and I still missed a couple of things.
The biggest problem with both the Hoyer and ceiling lifts is getting the right sling. In the U.S. the slings are not returnable. I wasted about $1,000.00 on slings before I got one that was acceptable. It still in not what I would like to see but it is good enough. Basically I have 2 that we use now. One is a standard sling. It works well for lifting her into bed or from the floor to the bed. However the patient is laid back in it. What you are supposed to do is pull the back of the sling or push on the patient legs (something my wife cannot stand for me to do) to sit the patient upright. It is also kind of hard to sit the patient upright on the toilet which is against the wall or on her scooter. In my case if you are going to a lift chair you can move the back of the chair to mach her recline angle and that works well.
We currently use a sanitary sling most of the time. It is similar to the standard sling above but it sits the patient more upright. The problem is that it is not as comfortable for the patient and it is hard to size. For my wife the extra large was too big and the large was too small. We ended up using the large. We also try to minimize the amount of time she is in the sling because it is uncomfortable for her.
When using both slings you need to make sure the straps are complete around the patient and there is no slack in them. If you leave slack it will slip on the patient and most likely give them a friction burn when you lift them.
If you purchase a motor that goes up and down on the strap (as mine does) the motor is in the way when you are trying to get the sling connected to the lift bar. The motor also rotates very easily and is right in my wife's face. When the motor rotates it hits her in the head. It happened so often that we ended up getting her a bike helmet to put on during the lifts.
The next problem I have with the ceiling lift is transferring the patient and motor between rooms. In my case the track goes between the bed room and hall and bed room and the bath room. There is a beam/roller system the permits the lift to be in any position in the bed room. They gave me two choices to put the track in. The first one was to cut the headers above the door or use a strap system that they have. I opted for the strap system. However the roller/beam system does not permit the same distance between the motor and the door headers. This makes the transfer strap longer than it should be. When transferring my wife between rooms she is very low and almost drags her back end on the floor. We ended up getting a scooter and lifting her into the scooter. She then drives the scooter into the bath/hall and I transfer the motor its self and reconnect the sling to the lift bar and lift her again as needed.
We use a sliding transfer bench into the bath/shower and it so happens that the ceiling track is just about over the transfer bench seat when it is outside of the shower. (They call this planning).
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I would be glad to offer suggestions if I knew a few more details- I see products at national tradeshows (that most people don't know exist) and have a good background in mobility problems.
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Depending on which floor you're going to use, I would imagine that you're going to have to do some ceiling modification to support the weight of the person. That could be a disaster waiting to happen!
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I've only seen ceiling lifts for wheelchair bound paitients. check into hoyer lifts --much cheaper. both require 2 persons on hand for safety.
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I worked for a nursing facility and Hoyer lifts are portable. They are heavy so I wouldn't go up and down stairs but can be taken from room to room. We used to rent them out. Call your local Redcross and see if they have one. Some some organizations, like the Lyons, may have loan closets. Some medical supply stores rent. Your local Visiting Nurses may be able to give you some places. I would not go as far as installing.
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Freqflyer - you have to practice it so your loved one gets used to it. My dad gets afraid but he did very well with it! The harness cradles them real well and the hydraulic is smooth for lowering. I was surprised dad didn't fight us. I guess i'm lucky there...at least lucky once in a while lol.
Peace!
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Once I did care for MS patient at his home for 16 years.(from 1992 to 2008) He had a build in lifting system that it's call Barrier Free Lifts. ( barrierfreelifts ), yes it is very pricey but if you could afforded... I do operate machine for him from his bed, bathtub, toilet, it's works great.... Most majority's home doesn't have strong ceiling so better use Hoyer lift, I used H/L awhile when machine need repair. Pro: Very useful
Con: Very expensive...... after my client passed his family did donate to Disable Veteran Group....
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I bought a Stand-to-Sit for my dad who occasionally loses the strength in his legs. He has good upper body strength and can use the thing we call "The Contraption." Mine is simple. Amazon has some info that might be useful to you. Basically the individual puts feet on the footpad, then uses the bar(s) to pull up. The seat parts are lowered and the individual can sit. I have carpeting and although it's not too easy it's not that hard to move my dad from bed to chair to bathroom using the contraption. It's not for everyone. I bought it from a local health care company so I could rent to purchase because I wasn't sure about it. Now it seems to come in handy in so many ways. Wish they made one of these portable enough to use with a car...
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Oh...my father is over 200 lbs and i weigh 114! Lol still great device to save our backs!!!
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Just got a hoyer lift for dad. Medicare rents them to you. No attachment to ceiling...which is just crazy when there is a hoyer....ot recommended and helped me get it. It is a great device when you can't lift or positioning patient in bed. Has made life easier around here! Good luck!
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I can probably continue to wrestle her between bed and wheelchair, but we have already given up using the shower and toileting is becoming a problem because she often can't/won't stand long enough to get her pants down and up. I called for help after 2 weeks when she wouldn't bear weight at all, as is typical she is doing better again, but for how long?

FF, I am worried about that too, but at some point it will become a choice between lift, nursing home or totally bed bound. I'm a strong woman but I can't lift and carry a 125 pound woman.

Friendly, I originally asked OT about a transfer board, I have considered a sliding transfer bench for the shower but again, the problem is manoeuvring her onto it, and that still leaves no good solution to the toileting problems. I'd be thrilled to hear of any other suggestions you have!
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One thought here, how comfortable with the lift be for the patient? It depends on the patient herself.

One time at long-term-care, I walked into Mom's room and they were using a lift for her, and Mom was flailing about, pleading to be put down, she was terrified.
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Wow- the above covered the main points I normally stress. A ceiling lift is much less clumsy than a hoyer but will be greatly expensive, difficult to install, and not as versatile as a hoyer. Both items use slings which will reduce the use of your mother's muscles- which will likely accelerate decline in whatever strength she now has. Hoyers were always a fallback solution (especially with a weight mismatch) and they can hasten decline and can be dangerous to the person and caregiver. I would recommend first using other assistive devices that make use of whatever strength she has- if she is able to "help herself" to a greater degree she reduces strain to you and has a chance to build strength (plus improve self-esteem and independence). Would love to offer suggestions if I had a few more details- please let me know. Mothers are a precious commodity- I lost mine (at 94) a few weeks ago so I commend you for all you are doing to help your mother.
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Bls, hospice is one aspect of American medicine that I envy... I am in Canada and support in my province at end of life is piecemeal and underfunded.
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Have you considered hospice? Your mom does not have to be close to dying, she has to meet their evaluation requirements that say that she will not get better from her condition. Once approved they will oversee management of her care. You have the choice to use their doctors or keep hers. They will order all necessary equipment for her and she will be on Medicare and not private insurance/Medicare HMO anymore.
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cwillie, first let me commend you for taking care of your mother and wanting her there until the end. Not every child would do that. The Hoyer lift is recommended instead of the ceiling lift for the reasons stated above. Make sure she gets the PT she needs at least every other day to keep her muscles in decent shape. I had one over my hospital bed once and I also had a bar hanging down to help with my own lifting. When I was just lying there, I would use it to lift myself up and exercise my arms and back. I would do several lifts in a set each day and it helped my mental state as well so make sure your Hoyer lift has a bar hanging down for her to pull on. Good luck.
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Get a Hoyer lift. You can take it all over the house. It won't fit in a lot of bathrooms, but you can get a free-standing commode and use that instead of the toilet. I have been using a lift for almost two years to move my husband. A ceiling lift would only work in one place. My lift also folds up so it can be used to put my husband in the car and taken with us to get him out of the car. It is the Hoyer Advance model. It does not roll on carpet.
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I also had her measured for a better wheelchair. All of the transfers would be from bed to chair, or chair to toilet and shower; with a higher end chair she should be able to sit comfortably without having to transfer to an easy chair.
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The problem with a hoyer lift is it wouldn't really be portable, realistically you can't move those things around an average house or fit them in most bathrooms. Installation would of course have to be done by professionals, from what I am told a track can be put in the bedroom and in the bathroom and the lift motor is moved to each track. I told her to go ahead and arrange for techs to come in and give me an estimate.
GA, I was worried too about her losing what ability she has left, but it was pointed out that the act of transferring is exercising me more than her, and if the goal is to retain mobility we should also consider PT.
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If your mom is to the point where she needs a ceiling lift have you considered a Hoyer lift instead? From what I understand about ceiling lifts they're limiting in that most people can't put them in every room because of the cost involved and the damage to the structure of the house. A Hoyer lift is portable and can go wherever your mom goes in the house. However a Hoyer doesn't work well on carpet.

I don't think you're in denial. It's not like you're insisting that your mom can transfer and that her assessment was a waste of time. But I think when we care for our parents day in and day out sometimes we can't see clearly. You knew this so you requested an assessment and now you're mulling over what was said during the assessment. But I didn't read denial in what you wrote.
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Just some thoughts, no real experience except for what I've seen in rehab and possibly in a hospital (my memory fades after awhile).

Obviously there are installation issues - security issues and attachment to ceiling studs strong enough to bear direct weight support.

My first thought though is if your mother then becomes dependent on it, it's another step closer to less mobility and reliance on the device.

Does she not bear weight b/c of physical issues or because she's just not comfortable doing so? When she does walk, is she in discomfort or pain?

If there are physical issues that interfere with walking, that's a different story from that of someone who just isn't comfortable with walking.

Another issue is that if a ceiling lift is necessary, or becomes habitual for transfer (presumably from a bed), would similar support be required for transfer from a wheelchair, from a chair in the living room or kitchen, or in the bathroom?

If a ceiling lift becomes habitual when not mandatory, it can become a crutch (as I'm sure you know) and lead not only to lessened muscle strength but reliance in places where a ceiling lift wouldn't be easily accommodated, such as a bathroom.

Personally, I would avoid its use unless there are physical issues which dictate it, because I think it would create such dependence that strength, flexibility and mobility would be lost even more quickly, and the concept of needing assistance someplace other than at home would also accelerate in time.
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