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How Does a Hoyer Lift Increase Mobility in Seniors With Physical Limitations

Nurses using a Hoyer lift.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re caring for a family member struggling with mobility issues? They require help with basic tasks, such as bathing, getting in and out of bed, or simply navigating their home. Caring for a family relative who cannot move freely on their own is challenging. As their caregiver, the strain of trying to provide care on your own could pose risks — both to you and your loved one.

You might wonder if there’s a safer and more efficient way to assist in such cases. Thankfully, you can use an equipment called a Hoyer lift. It’s a valuable tool that simplifies the process of helping people who struggle with mobility.

Read on to learn what a Hoyer lift is, including its different types, benefits, uses, and how it can help promote the safety and well-being of both caregivers and those in their care.

What is a Hoyer Lift?

A Hoyer Lift is a mechanical assistive device that comes with a sling designed to lift patients safely. Although “Hoyer” is a brand name, it’s often used as a generic term for any mechanical patient lift type.

Most patient lifts work in a similar way. However, the tools come in different models and types, so you should always check with the manufacturer, owner’s manual, or an expert user to see if yours has various features.

It might be worth investing if you and your loved one can benefit from it. But always familiarize yourself with its proper use — practice with empty slings, then with fully mobile volunteers — before you use it to transfer your loved one with limited mobility.

How Does a Hoyer Lift Work?

A caregiver moving a woman using a Hoyer lift machine.

While there are different types of Hoyer lifts, including manual and powered devices, they do operate in a similar fashion. The manual types include hydraulic cylinders and a hand pump, while the powered consumer lifters use rechargeable battery packs and push-button hand control.

To raise someone using the Hoyer lift, the lifter’s base should be extended to its widest possible position for maximum stability and ground security.

To lower someone using it, release hydraulic pressure safely by turning the knob near the pump handle counterclockwise, but don’t twist it more than one full turn. On the other hand, battery-powered lifters have a button on the hand control for lowering someone.

You must get proper training or education to use the device to avoid any unintentional accidents. User manuals can also give instructions on safety use.

Types of Hoyer Lifts

As mentioned, there are different types of Hoyer lifts, including manual and powered equipment. Though they both do the same function of safely moving patients, the latter is more convenient to use.

Manual Hoyer Lift

These types are designed to be operated by hand. It typically has hydraulic assists, which you operate when starting to lift a patient. Using this mobility tool helps ease the physical burden on the caregiver and makes transferring from bed to wheelchair with less effort.

Features and Benefits

Manual Hoyer lifts are designed with several features that make them a great choice for caregivers:

  • Portability: Manual Hoyer lifts are typically light and easy to maneuver. Because of their portability, caregivers can assist in various areas of the home without the need for multiple devices.
  • Ease of use: They’re easy to use and don’t require complex controls. You can quickly learn how to maneuver it, empowering you with knowledge to better support a loved one.
  • Safety: Manual Hoyer lifts come with several safety features to eliminate the risk of potential accidents for the patient being lifted and the caregiver. It includes secure sling attachments and locking mechanisms.
  • Cost-effective: These devices are also more affordable than their electric counterparts, making them a practical choice for families on a budget but need support.

Use Cases and Considerations

While a manual Hoyer lift does offer multiple advantages, it’s essential to consider the physical capabilities of the caregiver. Remember that using a manual lift may require more strength and effort than using power-operated lifts.

It’s best to have another family member assist you when moving a loved one using the device. This way, you can operate the tool while the other person ensures your loved one is positioned properly within the sling, ensuring their legs are dangling off the right side of the bed when moving.

Power Hoyer Lift

A senior man on a wheelchair being assisted by his caregiver - medical Hoyer lift.

A power Hoyer lift, also called an electronic Hoyer lift, makes for a smooth transfer between bed and wheelchair for a person with mobility issues. Typically, power Hoyer lifts are battery-powered and are operated by the touch of a button.

Features and Benefits

Power Hoyer lifts come with a variety of features that make them a great choice for caregivers. They may come with a higher price tag than manual lifts, but they’re also highly convenient to operate.

  • Ease of use: One of the most significant advantages of a power Hoyer lift is its ease of operation. With a single touch of a button, it can start operating. They require minimal effort to lift and transfer individuals, making them an ideal choice for caregivers lacking the physical strength and stamina to move a person.
  • Safety: Power Hoyer lifts have advanced safety features such as automatic emergency stop functions that pause the descent in bed or wheelchair. It guarantees the safety of both you and your loved one when the motor fails while moving.
  • Battery operation: Power Hoyer lifts are typically battery-operated, meaning they can remain operational even during power outages.
  • Versatility: They’re also very versatile and can be used to accommodate a broad range of mobility needs, such as transferring to and from chairs, beds, and even the bathroom.

Use Cases and Considerations

While power Hoyer lifts do offer a lot of positive benefits, they can be more expensive compared to manual lifts. Also, caregivers should be properly educated and trained in their proper use to guarantee the safety of everyone involved while using the tool. It also has more controls that you need to memorize.

Use Cases: Where Can Hoyer Lifts Be Used?

Both the manual and power versions are versatile and usable in different settings and situations. Here are some common cases where Hoyer lifts can be used:

  • Home care: Hoyer lifts are frequently used in home caregiving situations where professional caregivers or family members need to assist a person with mobility issues. With the device’s support, caregivers can transfer a patient from the bed to a wheelchair, reposition the patient on a couch, or move them to and from the toilet.
  • Hospitals: Hospitals use Hoyer lifts to transfer patients between stretchers, beds, and other medical equipment. They’re especially helpful in moving those who are bedridden or have a disability or physical limitations.
  • Nursing homes: These long-term care facilities use Hoyer lifts to provide daily assistance to residents struggling with mobility. For instance, if a resident wants to go to the toilet, caregivers can use the lift with minimal physical effort.
  • Rehabilitation centers: Hoyer lifts play a big role in helping patients in rehabilitation centers recover from injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions. Hoyer lifts provide safe and controlled movements during their rehabilitation process.

How to Choose the Right Hoyer Lift

A senior working with a therapist - mechanical Hoyer lift.

With the different types of Hoyer lifts available, you must be wondering which one you should choose.

Picking out the right Hoyer lift is an important decision to promote comfort, safety, and overall well-being of both the individual in need of mobility assistance and their caregiver. It requires careful consideration of different factors, from the patient’s mobility needs to cost.

Find out the factors to think through when selecting a Hoyer lift and how consulting a healthcare professional during the buying process is vital.

Factors to Consider

Listed are some factors to consider when choosing a Hoyer lift.

Patient’s mobility level and needs

Assess your loved one’s mobility challenges. Are they partially mobile? Are they completely bedridden? Do they have specific conditions that affect their movement? Then, consider the range of tasks you’ll be using the Hoyer lift for, such as transferring to and from the bed, bathroom, or wheelchair. Also, determine whether you’ll be using the lift to provide additional support for positioning requirements, such as sitting upright or reclining.

More importantly, consider your loved one’s weight and size. This is important to assess the lift’s weight capacity and the appropriate sling size. Make sure that the Hoyer lift you pick can safely accommodate the user.

Caregiver’s abilities and comfort

Evaluate the caregiver’s physical strength and capabilities. Note that manual Hoyer lifts may require more strength and effort, while power Hoyer lifts are motorized and require less physical strength. Gauge the comfort of the caregiver while operating the lift. Features like easy maneuverability and adjustable handles can vastly improve the caregiver’s overall use experience.

Budget and cost considerations

How much does a Hoyer lift cost? Take note that power Hoyer lifts tend to be more expensive compared to manual ones. The average cost of a manual Hoyer lift ranges from $400 to $500, while a powered one costs around $3,000.

Aside from the cost of the lift itself, you should also set a separate budget for its accessories and maintenance. Account for any additional costs for slings and other materials. You should also expect to pay for ongoing maintenance and repair of the tool. Manual Hoyer lifts are typically less costly to maintain than power lifts.

Consulting with Healthcare Professionals

Seeking guidance from experienced suppliers and healthcare professionals can help you obtain expert advice before buying to get the most out of your Hoyer lift. Here are some factors to help you.

Consulting with a physical therapist or physician

Consult with the patient’s physical therapist or physician to determine their specific needs and preferences. These professionals can provide valuable insight into what type of Hoyer lift is best suited according to your loved one’s condition.

Consulting with an occupational therapist

An occupational therapist can provide guidance on how you can best integrate the use of a Hoyer lift into your loved one’s daily routine. On top of that, they can recommend any necessary modifications to the patient’s environment to ensure their safety and comfort.

Consulting with a reputable Hoyer lift supplier or vendor

They can provide product information, assist in selecting the right model based on your specific needs, and demonstrate how to use the lift.

Hoyer Lift Safety and Proper Usage

A caregiver talking to an older man on a wheelchair - hoyer lift chair.

When it comes to using Hoyer lifts, the safety of both the patient and caregiver should always be the top priority. While these devices are invaluable for assisting individuals with limited mobility, their safe and proper operation requires education, training, and careful observance of instructions.

Learn the importance of education and training, as well as key reminders for the safe use of Hoyer lifts.

Importance of Training and Education

Before using a Hoyer lift, caregivers and healthcare professionals should properly train and educate themselves about its operation. Here’s why this is crucial:

  • Safety: Proper training ensures that users understand how to operate the lift safely. Doing so can reduce the risk of falls, accidents, or injuries to both the caregiver and the person the lift is used for.
  • Problem-solving: Training equips caregivers with the problem-solving skills necessary to handle unexpected situations, such as challenging transfers or equipment malfunctions. If the motor fails mid-operation, they’ll know how to respond and resolve the issue.
  • Efficiency: Educated caregivers can use Hoyer lifts efficiently. It benefits the user but also minimizes discomfort and physical strain for the caregiver.
  • Comfort and dignity: Training emphasizes the importance of imparting respect and dignity during transfers, which, in turn, can positively impact the person’s emotional well-being.

Precautions for Safe Lift Operations

To ensure the safe operation of Hoyer lifts, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Weight limits: Always take note of the lift’s weight capacity and never exceed it. Using a Hoyer lift beyond its weight allowance can lead to accidents or equipment failure.
  • Sling selection: There are different types of slings, so make sure to use the appropriate one based on the specific transfer task. Also, the sling design and size should match the patient’s needs for maximum support and comfort during transfers.
  • Secure attachments: Make sure that sling attachments are fastened securely before lifting or pushing a new button. Any loose connections can put the patient and caregiver at risk.

Correct Positioning and Transfer Techniques

Below are some correct positioning and transfer techniques you have to remember before operating the machine.

  • Positioning: Position the patient properly before lifting them. Check if they’re comfortable and if their feet are flat on the ground or footrest if applicable.
  • Smooth movements: Lift and lower the patient steadily and smoothly. Avoid sudden jerks or movements that can cause anxiety, discomfort, and stress.
  • Clear pathways: Eye around the area if the transfer path is free of any hazards or obstacles. If you find clutter, cords, rugs, or furniture that may obstruct the transfer, remove them.
  • Communication: Always communicate with your loved one being lifted during the transfer process. Don’t surprise them with sudden movements. Let them know what to expect and when you’ll start lifting them.

Maintenance and Inspection Tips

Maintenance allows you to spot any cause for concern with your Hoyer lift. Here are some inspection strategies to note about the use of your Hoyer lifts:

  • Regular maintenance: Routinely perform maintenance on the Hoyer lift as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll need to lubricate moving parts, check for loose bolts, and overall proper function.
  • Battery checks: If you’re using a power Hoyer lift, make it a habit to check the battery’s charge level to ensure it’s operational when needed. You want to avoid instances, especially during power outages, when you need it but it’s not functional.
  • Inspection: Before each use, inspect the lift for any visible signs of damage or malfunction. If you see any issues, don’t use the lift until it’s repaired.

Finding and Purchasing a Hoyer Lift

A picture of a male family caregiver purchasing a Hoyer lift online.

Where can you buy a medical Hoyer lift? How much does it cost? Is it covered by insurance or Medicare? Find out how you can get a Hoyer lift to use at home.

Where to Buy a Hoyer Lift

You can buy a lift online or walk into any medical supply store. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Online Retailers vs. Medical Supply Stores

Many online retailers, such as eBay, and Amazon, and specialized medical equipment websites offer a wide variety of Hoyer lifts. Shopping online is highly convenient and provides you access to product specifications and customer reviews.

You can also purchase Hoyer lifts from your local medical supply stores or durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers. Visiting a store gives you the opportunity to see the lifts in person, ask questions about specifications, and receive guidance from knowledgeable staff.

Medicare and Insurance Coverage

In some cases, Medicare may cover the cost of a Hoyer lift when it’s prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, coverage and eligibility may vary, so check with Medicare and your healthcare provider for specific details.

If you have a private health insurance plan, check your policy or contact your insurance provider to inquire if they cover the cost of purchase for a Hoyer lift. Some plans offer coverage while others don’t.

Price Range and Cost Factors

A photo of a hand pulling out some dollars from a wallet - patient Hoyer lift.

As the mechanical Hoyer lift is costly, some families may prefer to buy a used lift. This decision comes with upsides and downsides.

New vs. Used Hoyer Lifts

New Hoyer lifts have warranties, ensuring the equipment’s reliability. Any repair requests during the warranty period are considered. Prices for new lifts vary depending on the type, whether manual or power, brand, weight capacity, and other essential features. Cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

In contrast, used lifts are more affordable than new ones. You may find a Hoyer lift for sale through local classified ads, online marketplaces, or medical equipment resale stores. When buying used lifts, determine factors like the lift’s age, condition, and whether it still includes all necessary accessories.

Additional Accessories and Options

Hoyer lifts require several accessories, such as slings and spreader bars. Slings are a necessary part of the device, so you should account for its cost. Also, various slings are designed for different transfer tasks, creating the need for multiple sling types. Some Hoyer lifts also offer optional upgrades, such as scales, specialized slings, or additional safety features, which can add to the overall cost.

Benefits of Using a Hoyer Lift

A caregiver and senior woman on a Hoyer lift.

Hoyer lifts are valuable mobility aids that provide a range of benefits to both family caregivers and their loved ones. Here are some of its key benefits:

Enhanced Patient and Caregiver Safety

  • Fall prevention: These devices can substantially reduce the risk of falling during transfers, especially for people with limited mobility, those living with disabilities, or those who are at risk of slipping or tripping.
  • Stability and support. Hoyer lifts offer secure and stable support when moving from the bed to the wheelchair, which minimizes the possibility of accidents.
  • Reduced Risk of Injury. They can also eliminate the need for manual lifting and awkward position changes. It protects both patients and caregivers from musculoskeletal injuries, such as strains and sprains, during a transfer.

Increased Mobility and Independence

  • Facilitated mobility: These tools empower patients with physical limitations to move more comfortably and freely, whether they’re transferring to a bed, wheelchair, or the toilet.
  • Independence: The use of Hoyer lifts allows patients to regain some level of independence in their day-to-day activities, as they can actively participate in transfers to a certain extent.
  • Improved emotional well-being: Maintaining your loved one’s mobility and independence can have a positive impact on their emotional and psychological well-being.

Reduced Strain and Injury Risk

  • Minimized risk of accidents: The mechanized and controlled operation of power Hoyer lifts drives down the incidence rate of injuries that can sometimes occur during manual lifting and transferring.
  • Caregiver well-being: The use of this device reduces the physical strain on caregivers, which makes caregiving less physically demanding. Caregivers can use their physical strength and energy on other essential matters.
  • Improved care quality: With reduced physical strain and a focus on safety, caregivers can provide higher-quality care with more attention to the patient’s comfort and general health.

Elevate Senior Care with Hoyer Lifts

Hoyer lifts are game-changers in caregiving, especially for people with mobility challenges who need assistance in getting in and out of bed. These assistive devices increase mobility, enhance safety, and reduce the strain on both patients and caregivers. Choosing the right Hoyer lift is crucial, and consulting a healthcare professional adds a layer of expertise to your decision-making.

Besides assistive aids, we at Amy’s Eden also recognize that caregivers are an important part of high-quality care. If you need a dependable caregiver to help you operate a Hoyer lift, increase your loved one’s mobility by transferring them to other home areas whenever they want, and provide them with companionship care — we’re ready to help. Reach out to us and get to know our caregivers, explore our services, or take a virtual tour of one of our homes.

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