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 indispensable 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.
Table of Contents
9 Things You Need to Know
1. 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?
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.
3. Lift Size
Since the lift can be hard to maneuver or may not fit into 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.)
4. 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.
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.
6. 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.
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.
8. 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.
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 the assignment. If the supplier is enrolled in Medicare but isn’t “participating,” they have the option to accept the assignment.
If the supplier isn’t enrolled in Medicare, Medicare won’t pay your claim.”
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.
Recommended Transfer Lifts for Dementia Patients:
Portable Hoyer Lifts
Portability is a key feature for people who have small storage spaces. The below are foldable and don’t take up much space making them ideal for storage after use.
1. Personal Hydraulic Patient Body Lift
Weight Capacity: 450 Lbs
Power: Hydraulic Cylinder
The Personal Hydraulic Patient Body Lift is ergonomically designed making it easy to maneuver and also ideal for everyday transfers. It comes with a hydraulic pump useful for patients who only have partial use of their legs. To use this lift, you have to move the handle up and down to pump it – this lifts the seat up and down.
Portable and versatile, this lift can transfer patients from just about anywhere. It is safer than a manual lift and comes at a lower price than an electrical unit. The Lift is lightweight and easy to assemble and take apart, making it a smart option for when you need to transfer your patient quickly.
For a low-priced hydraulic lift, the performance was smooth and comfortable during my tests. This was a surprise because at this price point, I was expecting a less sophisticated equipment.
Easy to use
It was very simple and easy to operate, allowing me to focus on the transfer rather than on controlling the machine.
Lift more weight
One fantastic feature of this product is that it uses a hydraulic cylinder and can lift weights up to 450 lbs.
Perfect for storage
The portable design of this lift makes it great for storage under most beds up to 4.5 inches. And because it is made of high-quality steel, you can rest easy knowing that it will serve you for many years
I attached a sling to make the transfer even more comfortable for my volunteer patient. After use, it was easy to stow away. The lift is extremely powerful and helps to efficiently move patients from one location to another.
Easy to use
Easy to assemble
Portable for storage
Ideal for bedridden patients
Difficult to move on carpeting
2. Advance Portable Hoyer Patient Electric Lift
Weight Capacity: 340 Lbs
Power: Battery and charger
The Advance Portable Hoyer Patient Electric Lift is one of the most portable patient lifts available because it folds up neatly without the need for tools.
It is made of a lightweight aluminum frame which makes handling so much easier.
Being a professional electric lift, this product takes patient lifts a step forward with a unique structure and performance. The swan neck leg design can be used to transfer patients from large furniture and comes with a foot pedal that makes operation easy.
The Hoyer advance lift has a tapered leg that makes it very functional when operated close to wide obstacles. The benefit of this is that large chairs, wheelchairs and bulky commodes will not be an obstacle during transfers.
You can lift patients that weigh up to 340 lbs during a wide range of daily activities with its swan-neck mast.
Perfect for storage
It also has a folding design that makes it easy for caregivers to stow it away after use.
It comes with a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged at night time or during the periods when the patient will not need the lift. The batteries only need 4 hours to get a full charge.
At first, I expected the portable construction to impede performance but this was no the case. The lift was able to carry out an outstanding range of transfers from chair to bed, or floor to chair.
My patient experienced less anxiety and the design made it easy for me to focus more on the task at hand and less on positioning. Concentrating on the patient and following caregiving best standards will result in fewer injuries and improved safety overall.
Folds for easy storage
Easy to set up
Easy to maneuver over tile and wood floors
Slightly difficult to move on carpeting
Does not come with slings
Lifts For Home Use
Some patient lifts are ideal for use at home while some are not. Lifts for your home don’t necessarily have to be portable but should be easy for use around the home taking into consideration the variety of obstacles usually found in a home.
3. Stair Slide Emergency Evacuation Wheelchair Belt
Weight Capacity: 220 Lbs
Simple and easy to use sling sliding belt makes it easy to transfer patients from the wheelchair to the bed or another chair. It is made of polyester fabric and is durable and reusable.
The handles have a reinforced stitching that will help distribute the weight of the patient evenly and make the positioning and transfer safer.
One feature that got this product onto this review is how lightweight it is and yet it can withstand patients weight up to 220 lb.
It comes with strong bands that can be tightened around the thigh and waist to hold the patient more securely.
The product comes with some useful storage slots to keep some items easily accessible.
The fabric is low friction which greatly improves its rolling ability and gives the patient a safer and more comfortable transfer experience.
It is also convenient for caregivers who simply need to hold the handles firmly, to carry out a smooth transfer. It is designed for use by 2 caregivers as this will protect the patient from any accidental disengagement.
Wheelchair belts are not as versatile as other lifts but are perfect for use at home and when you need a simple transfer process. They are great if you want to turn the patient over, move them from one bed to another, move them from chair to chair, and many more simple uses.
During my test, I discovered that this product was simpler to use when placed under a patient on the wheelchair. This way, transfers from the chair to the bed was a breeze.
Easy to use
Requires a 2-person assist
Only for transfers in or out of bed
Not a sturdy product. The handles tend to fall off
4. Invacare 9805P Personal Hydraulic Patient Body Lift
Weight Capacity: 450 Lbs
The Invacare 9805P is a valuable and essential patient lift for personal use or in any healthcare facility. It is a full-body lift and unlike many standing lifts, uses a sling to ensure a patient’s whole weight is supported making it a safe option; especially for people who are not able to stand unsupported.
If your patient or loved one cannot use their legs and arms to push themselves up, this lift will do all the work so that they can be transferred easily.
While the Invacare 9805P lift is not actually a portable lift, it is compact and disassembles very easily.
Works with many slings
It comes with a six-point swivel bar attachment which makes it universally adaptable with any type of sling style or position. This feature also makes it more comfortable to transfer patients. The product is also a stable and safe choice that will provide peace of mind to patients and caregivers
With a range of 20” to 64”, you can lift patients from a lying position easily.
It has a pump handle that can be rotated from side to side if required and a long handle design that is great for a wide range of people of different heights.
The weight capacity is 450 lbs which is really high considering the price. Made of durable material so you don’t have to worry about the longevity of the product.
During my tests, I discovered that it was more effective when I set the sling on a chair so my volunteer patient could sit on it. I simply folded the sling around the patient and attached it before the transfer. Using this method ensured that my patient was safe and less likely to fall off.
Easy to assemble
Easy to use and manipulate
No wheel locks
Standing Hoyer Lifts
Standing lifts are designed to assist in transferring patients from a sitting down position to a standing position. They make it easier for caregivers to transfer patients but require the patient to use their legs.
5. Hoyer Journey Sit to Stand Lift
Weight Capacity: 340 Lbs
Sit to stand lift equipment are a good choice for people with mobility problems, and cannot be used for bedridden patients. They are designed to make transfers easy and to move patients more easily from sitting to standing positions. They are also ideal for the elderly that can bear their weight, but have trouble walking.
With the help of the sit to stand lift, you can offer the patient a safe and easy way to move around, as well as save money that would otherwise have been paid to a caregiver whose only job is to help with mobility.
Great for mobility
It is useful for people who have problems with their back, injuries, arthritis or other mobility issues will benefit from these types of lifts.
It is also ideal for transferring patients from their wheelchair to the toilet or anywhere else you want to transfer them to, including the car.
Ideal for the elderly
As we age, our mobility reduces and many health conditions start to creep in as our strength reduces, that is why this product is great for the elderly.
It’s good to have at home even when the patient does not have a mobility problem as it can help take their weight off their legs at certain crucial times.
Another set of people that will benefit from this product are those recovering from surgery or other health conditions. After a surgery or major illness, some people need more rest and as they take time to get back into the natural rhythm of life, a sit to stand lift will help improve their range of motions without hurting them.
Durable and well-made
Moves with ease
Portable and ideal small apartments
Not suitable for bedridden patients
6. Easy Lift Sit To Stand
Weight Capacity: 300-400 Lbs
Power: Battery and electric
The Easy Lift Sit To Stand is another great product with awesome reviews. It uses a battery and electric power and is designed to provide a fast and safe transfer solution for patients who have trouble standing but can pull or push themselves up.
It has a uniquely designed foot pedal with an opening and adjustable knee pads. This makes standing less of a chore for those who are wobbly on their feet.
Outfitted with large handles that make it easy to hold on to during transfers. This ensures less chances of an accident happening.
Designed for easy storage
It comes with a lower base height that makes storage easy. You can simply stow it under a bed as it will fit nicely under most beds.
The Easy Lift is outfitted with a quiet motor which offers the patient some peace and quiet during transfers.
I noticed that transfers were smooth with no jerking motions like you would experience in a manual lift. Another awesome thing about this battery operated lift is that if the power does go out, you can still use the lift.
Durable with heavy-duty wheels
Easy to use
Easy to assemble
Footplate cannot be removed
The battery does not hold a charge