How Do I Choose the Right Type of Patient Lift

Patient lifts are assistive devices that allow caregivers to move those with limited mobility between beds and chairs or from sitting to standing. By giving a helping hand, patient lifts help reduce injuries to both patients and caregivers and provide smooth, comfortable transitions.

If you’re in the market for a patient lift for your facility or home, this guide should help you choose the right one for your needs and the needs of people who trust you with their care.

What should I ask to pick the right patient lift?

There are plenty of patient lifts on the market, but understanding your needs is essential to choosing the right one. A manual patient lift relies on power supplied by the operator—usually through a hydraulic pump. An electric lift uses a motor, usually powered by a rechargeable battery. Manual lifts are generally less expensive because they require fewer parts; they have no electronics, motors, hand controls, control boxes, or batteries. On the other hand, although hydraulic pumps are usually straightforward to operate, they require a little more effort than their electric counterparts.

Generally, hospitals and other facilities prefer the convenience of electric lifts, while manual lifts are a good choice for home settings. However, an electric lift may also be preferred in a homecare situation where only a single caregiver can operate it. With an electric lift, the caregiver can use one hand to operate the lift while the other steadies the patient.


What level of mobility is required to use the lift?

Different lifts require different levels of mobility. For instance, with sit-to-stand lifts, patients must be able to sit up unassisted and bear some of their weight while standing. The sit-to-stand lift can be valuable in the rehabilitation process, as it can encourage patients to become more independent and bear more of their body weight as they increase their strength. But it is not the lift to invest in if a patient cannot assist with standing or has no mobility at all.

When looking at the different types of patient lifts, ask yourself how much your patient can reasonably help with transfers.

Where will the lift be stored (does it need to be portable)?

 This question is less important than it used to be. Hospital beds are much more adjustable now; most patient lifts can pick patients up from as low as the floor. Of course, it’s still essential to confirm that the lift you choose can meet your height requirements, but most likely, it will.


Where will the lift need to go?

 For those who need to transport their patient lifts frequently, portable lifts are available that fold for transport or storage. However, remember that even portable lifts may be difficult to lift for a single person; most of them weigh at least 70 or 80 pounds. Although portable lifts can often be disassembled into smaller pieces, they are usually designed to be transported in a single folded piece.


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