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Late Stage
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- 10 Golden Rules
- What Not to Do
- Lifts

You, the caregiver, are just as important as the patient because if anything happens to you, everyone's in trouble. Avoid injury by following the Golden Rules. And keep in mind that it's therapeutic for the person to help as much as possible because it helps the person maintain muscle strength and mobility.

helping a person with dementia transfer

Mobile or Hoyer Lift. A lift can reduce your risks of injury when transferring a person who is totally dependent and cannot help you with the transfer. And a lift can be indispensible in helping your care receiver up from the floor if the person were to fall. It also can help the person from becoming bedbound. Hoyer was one of the first companies to manufacture this lift and they're often still referred to by that name.

These portable lifts support all of a person's weight. However, lifts can take some getting used to – for both you and the person with dementia. Below are a few helpful tips. Also, you can see various videos on how to use a lift in our Product Section.

9 Things You Need to Know

Professional Input. Call your care receiver's doctor and request a home health visit from a visiting nurse before you purchase a hoyer lift. The provider can help you choose the right lift for your unique situation. For example, does your loved one need a sling with back and head support? What material (e.g., dacron, mesh) is the best? Is it all right if your care receiver sits on the sling continuously, or could that affect his/her skin condition?

Training. You'll need experience before using the lift with your care receiver, so make sure you have another family member or friend on whom to practice until you are comfortable with the procedure. For example, putting the sling on the person can be cumbersome (and unsafe if done incorrectly), but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Don't be intimated - it can take a few tries to learn, but using a lift is safer in the long run.

Lift Size. Since the lift can be hard to maneuver or may not fit in the available space, get the smallest size available to suit your care receiver's needs. Check that the lift can fit through the bathroom door (or use a bedside commode) and under the bed (some lifts need 4 to 7 inches clear space underneath the bed.)

Lift Type. Your care receiver may be uncomfortable with the jerky or bumpy motions of a hydraulic pump. An electric - battery operated lift, (with a hand control), gives a smoother, less jerky ride than one that moves by a hydraulic pump (operates like a tire jack). To recharge the battery, just plug in the electric lift into any standard outlet.

Flooring. Thick carpeting not only makes it difficult to roll, but it can cause the wheels to stop suddenly and the lift could then tip over. Consider wood or a short-napped carpet. Remove area carpets and door thresholds, too.

Height-adjustable hospital bed. Raising the bed to its high position will reduce strain on your lower back when you put the sling under the person. And you'll need plenty of clearance under the bed for the lift, too.

Communication. Since many people with dementia are fearful of lifts, it's important to let the person know what you're doing, step by step, even if you think the person doesn't understand. In a gentle voice, reassure the person, say he/she is safe and won't fall. You may want to give the person something soft to hold onto or to play soft music.

One or Two Person Transfer. Although a lift may be used safely by one caregiver, depending on the situation, it can be more calming to the person with dementia when two people are helping. For example, you could operate the lift and the other person could stand by your care receiver's side, reassuring the person in a soft voice while physically guiding him or her into the bed or wheelchair. Otherwise, your care receiver can swing a bit when the lift's in use, which can be frightening to him/her.

Payment. Medicare Part B covers a patient lift (that's the term Medicare uses) if the person "cannot move from a bed to a chair, wheelchair or commode without the help of more than one person; the patient would be confined to a bed without the use of a lift. An order (prescription) must be on file with the supplier. It must be signed and dated by the treating doctor. Make sure your supplier is enrolled in Medicare and has a Medicare supplier number. Suppliers have to meet strict standards to qualify for a Medicare supplier number. Medicare won't pay your claim if your supplier doesn't have a number, even if your supplier is a large chain or department store that sells more than just durable medical equipment (DME).

You pay 20% of Medicare-approved amounts. Patient lifts are in the Capped Rental category of DME; that means you may choose to rent or purchase a patient lift. For more information, you may call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

If a supplier of DME doesn't accept assignment, there is no limit to what you can be charged. You also may have to pay the entire bill (your share and Medicare's share) at the time you get the DME. Ask if the supplier is a participating supplier in the Medicare program before you get durable medical equipment. If the supplier is a participating supplier, they must accept assignment. If the supplier is enrolled in Medicare but isn't "participating," they have the option to accept assignment.

If the supplier isn't enrolled in Medicare, Medicare won't pay your claim."

From Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services http://www.medicare.gov/coverage

SPECIAL NOTE: Medicare usually doesn't cover electrical lifts because they're considered a convenience feature. However, you can apply the cost of the manual lift towards the purchase price of an electric model by using a special form called an Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN). You or your care receiver pays the difference between the two items.


Coaching a Person

Caregiver Injuries

Body Mechanics Demo

Sitting Up in Bed

Bed to Wheelchair

Using a Hoyer Lift

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