Loss of mobility can be extremely frightening and upsetting for all those involved. Many people make the assumption that they will have to leave their home, but that’s not always the case. With the right equipment it is possible to live independently, remain in your home and stay safe.
Hoists can help people with poor mobility carry out all sorts of everyday tasks such as washing, toileting, dressing and getting in and out of bed. So if you think you and your carer could do with some extra help at home then take a look at these top tips for choosing a mobility hoist.
Types of Hoist
There are three main types of hoist, standing or toileting hoists, standard mobile hoists and mobile seat hoists. The hoist you choose will depend on your requirements and the recommendations of your doctor or occupational therapist.
Ask for Advice
If you’ve recently come up against a mobility problem then the chances are you will have been assigned an occupational therapist by your GP. An OT will visit your home and assess your needs and the needs of your carer or carers. They will also look at your home to determine whether the appropriate equipment will fit in. They can then offer advice about the right sort of equipment for you. This could be the simple addition of a hand rail in the bathroom, purchasing a hoist or fitting a stair lift. However, you should bear in mind that it’s not always possible for those with mobility problems to stay in their homes. Ask your occupational therapist about grants as some people are entitled to help from the government in order to purchase mobility equipment.
Assess your Needs
Before you decide which type of hoist is right for you or whether you need a hoist at all ask yourself the following questions:
- What will your hoist be used for? Will it be for getting into bed, for bathing or for toileting?
- Will you need a hoist that can pick a person up from the floor?
- Can the hoist support the weight of the person being lifted?
- Does the hoist come with a suitable sling?
- Can the hoist be adjusted to suit the changing needs of the user?
- Do you require a car hoist for getting in and out of your car?
There’s lots of clever tech available to support mobility but some hoists can be big and bulky which makes it difficult to manoeuvre them in smaller spaces. Make sure there’s enough clearance above your chair or bed so the person being lifted is kept safe. Check there’s enough space under your chair or bed for the hoist legs to fit comfortably. Check that the hoist can be easily moved from room to room and manoeuvred in small spaces like bathrooms. Find out if the hoist you choose can be dismantled easily so it can be used on holiday or when out and about. Decide whether you want a manual or electric hoist. Both need to be operated by a carer but electric hoists tend to be easier to use.
Before you purchase a hoist make sure all your carers are able to use it safely. For example manual hoists can require some strength to operate which your carers might not be capable of. It’s worth bearing in mind that a wheelchair and not a hoist should be used to transport people over long distances. All carers should be properly trained in how to use and charge the hoist, but in the event that the power runs out hoists can be lowered manually so the user isn’t left hanging in mid-air.