Ed and Darlene – how a ceiling lift improved the life of a caregiver and patient.

After Ed had suffered a serious injury, he and his wife Darlene were determined to return to their comfortable Milwaukee home and avoid living in a nursing home.  Unfortunately, Ed required total assistance for his transfers, which when using a standard or power hoyer lift would have required two caregivers to provide his transfers, and to position him well in his wheelchair and in his bed.

As an alternative to the hoyer lift, Darlene learned about how a ceiling lift could allow her to independently transfer Ed to his wheelchair and to bed.  After trying the ceiling lift to transfer her husband, they both realized that this would allow them to perform transfers with less physical effort and strain.  With learning strategies on how to more easily position Ed properly with the ceiling lift, she was able to easily position Ed well using the tilt-in-space features  of the wheelchair.  A hoyer lift would require two caregivers to safely perform transfers, and was difficult to impossible to position Ed well in the wheelchair (causing discomfort, skin breakdown, postural deformities, stiffness, and pain).  It was clear to Darlene and Ed after trying both the hoyer lift and the ceiling lift, that a ceiling lift was the only solution to provide them the quality of life that they needed at home.

Hear from Darlene – how their Milwaukee ceiling lift helped her care for her husband independently at home:

Reduced physical strain for the caregiver and safer for the person being transferred

Research has thoroughly proven the benefits of ceiling lifts and how physically easier they are for caregivers and providers to perform patient transfers to and from bed and wheelchair.  The ceiling lift method of transfers allowed Darlene to independently transfer her husband to and from the bed without requiring a second caregiver.  The benefit of easier transfers were tremendous in protecting the safety of both Darlene and Ed, by protecting Darlene as a caregiver from physical injury, and providing Ed a safe and secure method of being transferred. In addition to safer transfers to and from the bed they later purchased a bed re-positioning sling which allowed Darlene to use the overhead lift to roll Ed from side to side at night for re-positioning and prevention of bed sores, and reduced any physical strain associated with rolling and re-positioning her husband dependently in bed.  Darlene knew that, as a caregiver, protecting her body was very important in order to continue providing good care for Ed.

Reduced space needed for transfers

A hoyer lift or sit-to-stand lift requires a large space to manage the transfer due to the wide base of the transfer lift.  Patient transfer lifts such as hoyers and sit-to-stands can also be very difficult to manage on carpeted floors due to the resistance and friction on the castors of the lift.  Ceiling lifts provide a much smaller footprint to manage transfers to and from the wheelchair for transfers.  The ceiling lift eliminates any turning radius for transfers as it allowed Darlene to glide Ed to and from the chair easily.  The turning radius required for hoyers and sit-to-stand patient transfer lifts can be over 5′, and even upt o 7′ – 10’6″ clearances (per Joerns and Hill-Rom studies).  The ceiling lift eliminates this turning radius to perform the transfer, and eliminates the need to store another large bulky piece of medical equipment as well.

Bathroom accessibility without remodeling achieved by using a ceiling lift

Often times we can achieve bathroom accessibility by using a ceiling lift, without having to perform any bathroom remodeling.  This was another great benefit to Ed and Darlene, that helped to provide bathroom accessibility in their comfortable Milwaukee home.  Ed preferred to soak in the bathtub for baths, and this was made possible by using a ceiling lift system that easily lowered and raised him to and from the tub.  Darlene also used a battery operated bathtub lift to more easily position Ed, and adjust his height and positioning for easier assistance with bathing and rinsing in the tub.  The use of the ceiling lift to provide bathroom accessibility can provide a tremendous cost savings, as many ceiling lift configurations can be a fraction of the cost of bathroom remodeling.

Financial savings from their Ceiling lift – fewer caregivers , saving money and caregiver hiring headaches

Darlene and Ed understood that the cost of this ceiling lift was a worthwhile investment for many reasons, in addition to greatly improving their quality of life!  The cost of this ceiling lift in their Milwaukee home, was in fact far less expensive than remodeling their bathroom for accessibility, while still allowing Ed to take the baths he enjoyed.  Additionally, having a much easier transfer method, meant that Darlene could perform transfers on her own, not having to pay many hours of caregiver assistance throughout the year.  This not only saved them many thousands of dollars every year, but also preserved their privacy and freedom from the challenges of hiring (or sometimes firing) caregivers.  Beyond the financial benefits, the ceiling lift provided also greater freedom to be moving more often, without having dependence upon caregiver schedules, which would have been the case with a hoyer transfer lift.

Greater ease of transfers with the ceiling lift allowed Darlene the ability to independently perform transfers to and from the bed, wheelchair and bathtub as well.  Having this independence with transfers, allowed Darlene the freedom to perform transfers at anytime, not having to worry about if caregivers would be available.  This independence also saved Darlene and Ed the cost of hiring extra caregivers, saving them tremendous financial costs, and saved them the headache of worrying if their caregivers would show up, as well as preserving their privacy, by not having additional caregivers around just for transfers and re-positioning at home.

Independence with night time positioning in bed

The use of specialty slings such as a bed sling allow for independence with re-positioning in the bed using a specialty bed sling that attaches to the ceiling lift and assists the caregiver with rolling and positioning the patient at night.  Re-positioning at night is important for protecting skin protection and prevention of pressure ulcers and can be necessary for patient comfort as well.  Using the combination of the ceiling lift and bed re-positioning sling made it easy for Darlene to position Ed for his comfort, and skin protection.  the bed positioning sling/sheet that they used was a specialized spacer mesh bed sling with unique breathe-ability and skin protecting fabric, a material is also used also for cushion covers to protect skin.

Greater freedom to get to and from bed and easier to position the patient in the chair and in bed

Due to the ease of using the ceiling lift for transfers and positioning, Darlene was able to transfer Ed with less physical strain, and more often and freely, whenever he needed to be transfer.  Darlene talked to us about the freedom this provided her to move Ed whenever transfers were needed, such as rest breaks, toileting or bathing, or to re-positioned for relief or for care of his skin.

An Accessibility Showroom to trial different ceiling lifts, slings, a transfer harness, and other patient transfer lifts 

BILD has worked with Ed and Darlene as well as many other families and individuals to help and find the best transfer solutions, with the ability to trial and test them ahead of time.  In our Milwaukee Accessibility Showroom, we offer the opportunity to trial portable and fixed ceiling lifts, many types, styles and sizes of slings, the independent lifter harness, and other transfer devices such as various sit to stand lifts and power hoyer lifts.  The opportunity to test and practice transfers with different styles of lifts and slings in our showroom provides a great opportunity to know what will work the best for you.  If you’d like to setup a time to visit our showroom located at 9209 W Bluemound Road in Milwaukee, WI, please give us a call first to arrange a visit with one of our accessibility and transfer assistance consultants.

Individualized training with a clinician

As providers of ceiling lifts, we worked with Darlene and Ed, on safe and effective use of the ceiling lift including: proper sling selection, training on how to place the sling safely, safe body mechanics for use of the ceiling lift, safe assistance with positioning Ed in the wheelchair using the advantage of the ceiling lift to safely place him in the chair, bed and tub. As physical and occupational therapists who specialize in transfers and patient handling, and also as national educators on home accessibility and transfer equipment and strategies, we are heavily versed in instruction in safe transfer management for caregivers and for those they care for.  When we provide a transfer lift, we view it as more that providing a machine, but also providing tools and strategies to perform safe transfers for caregivers and patients.

We are grateful to Ed and Darlene for allowing us to share their story, and honored and grateful for their trust in us to provide the education and tools that helped to keep Ed home comfortably, and helped to ease the physical strain and demands of caregiving for Darlene.  Their story illustrates why we do what we do at BILD.  We are proud to share Ed and Darlene’s story, because of how much it supported the dignity and quality of life for this wonderful couple.

BILD is a Milwaukee based, nationally recognized leader of accessibility, transfer lifts, and accessible remodeling.  We are a Milwaukee based provider of ceiling lifts, and patient transfer lifts, and also serve the entire state of Wisconsin and the Chicago and Norther Illinois areas.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about ceiling lift and patient transfer lift options.