Old 04-20-2017, 08:18 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Hoyer Lift

I am getting ready to get a Hoyer Lift.

What should I be looking for? What is important?
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:21 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

Electric (well that means battery operated and you plug in to charge).
Feet opening (important if you have to get in and out of PWC or recliner chair).
Lift from floor capability (he is NOT going to fall on the floor, but then it's good to know you can lift him from there hey).

Slings are variable and a different story - eg slings with good neck support, toilet and shower slings etc. You can have more than one sling for a lift

Do you have an OT that can help you with this choice?
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:32 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

You want a divided leg sling (not "toilet sling") for most situations. Mesh vs. solid fabric is a personal choice but I prefer mesh.

Just to clarify Tillie's comment about feet opening, that's done manually with a lever; you don't need powered though some high end lifts offer it. The power you need is for lifting the cradle that the sling is hanging off.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:03 AM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

Thanks Tillie and Laurie. We don't have an OT. We don't go back to clinic until early June.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:51 AM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

A lift becomes a necessity at some point, but I have found that an overhead or ceiling mount lift over the bed is much more convenient than the Hoyer so you will want to consider that option before buying.

The standard patient lift is frequently called a Hoyer lift. "Hoyer" is a brand name and there are many other brands.

A manual lift is a bit more work but is less expensive and doesn't have the electronics that could break down. But for frequent use, electric is nice.

Don't get a lift that has a big hanger ("cradle") for the sling. Two hooks work as well as four.

Compare prices for used equipment on Craig's List. It is often minimally used and cheaper than buying new even if you have insurance/Medicare to cover a new one. Because you can buy locally, you can try out the equipment and don't have to pay shipping.

Pushing a lift across carpet is not fun, so you may want to replace the carpet with wood or vinyl at some point.

Be prepared for the lift to be too large to move into the bathroom. Any turns, narrow doorways, or small floor space in the bathroom can be big problems. You may find that the best way to use the lift is to move over a commode, not the bathroom toilet. That is not ideal and definitely an emotional adjustment, but being in a sitting position for bowel movements is important.

The brand of lift you buy makes little difference but the type of sling you use with the lift is critical to how it will work for you! The sling should be purchased separately from the lift in order to get the right type. Almost any sling will work on any lift. A hygiene sling, also called a split leg sling or U-Sling is by far the best. These can be put under the patient or removed while in a chair or in bed. Standard "commode slings" are a major effort to get under the patient and can't be adjusted as well to get the person sitting more upright. Look for the simplest, uncluttered design and get one with a headrest. In my experience, sling sizes tend to run large so downsize if the ranges are close. Weight loss in ALS adds to the possibility of oversizing.

First attempts at using the lift and sling are seldom successful! Have extra help and don't use the patient as the test crash dummy! With patience and adjustments, only one caregiver will be needed for a smooth lift.

A lift becomes a necessity at some point, but I have found that an overhead or ceiling mount lift over the bed is much more convenient than the Hoyer so you will want to consider that option before buying.

Things to consider when buying this type of lift:
Can it be lowered to the floor to pick up a person who has fallen?
Will it fit under the bed you will be using? Most require 4 to 7 inches of space. Measure before buying.
When the base is spread for stability, will it fit around your recliner or wheelchair? Measure before buying.
Will it fit in your bathroom and bedroom? Requires at least a 5 foot square turning area. Suggestion: Before buying get the specifications list. Find the full length and width (with the base opened out). Cut cardboard to this size and see if you can fit and turn it on the floor in the hallways and rooms you will be working in.
Weighs about 100 pounds. Consider the weight of the person and the ability of the caregiver to push the total weight especially on carpeted floors.
Requires storage space.
Does not work as a bath lift for standard tub.
Manual (hydraulic $550 and up. A battery powered ($1,300 and up) is easiest for caregivers.
The bar (carriage) that the sling attaches to may have two, four, or six hooks. Two hooks are all that is needed.
Some portable lifts are available but may not be usable with other brands of slings and the sling may not have head support.

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Old 04-21-2017, 09:17 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

We use a portable electric hoist, as we still travel a fair bit, it works well for us, sometimes it's easier to bring the commode to the hoist as the commode is easier to manouver it tighter spaces.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:55 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hoyer Lift

I would only say that Diane's info seems a bit dated in terms of portable lifts, slings and floor lift prices. There are more options than ever these days.

I will always dispute the "no [standard] carpet" notion since I pushed my 250# husband over carpet. Opening the legs is more the problematic part and the more modern the lift, the better in that regard.

I would not consider a hydraulic lift, and would start with 4-point slings (and we used six points on the cradle for ours, opening up the sling more to accommodate the body, a consideration depending on weight/body type). 2-point may work for a lighter or short person but is not for all and fewer are made every year. It is an older technology since it started with chains.

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