Just to share another option with everyone. I just received a product called LiftVest from a company run by a couple who invented the product. It is a vest that has handles all over it and distributes the lifting force over more of your torso than a regular lifting belt. It may not work for some people, but just something else to consider.
The problem I have with it is my wife is very short and I am tall and heavy, 285lbs. So when she tries to transfer me she gets me about 3/4 the way up and her arms run out of lifting strength. It's great if 2 people are trying to move you, but be sure to get the right size if you buy one. Cost runs about $180 depending on the model you choose.
Six months ago I considered one of these but the Medical Supplier I use did not encourage me on it. At the time I thought it would work well. Now, a few months down the road I see they were right. LB's ability to sit on the side of the bed is gone. When I sit him up, with support, his legs go stiff most often. Considering his ability now, I have to say the lift was the way to go.
My other thought when considering one was I might be able to put him in the car with it. Again, the supplier said the arms of the pivot would most likely be to high to put him in far enough. I also ask the opinion of a PT. She said they work best on quads that have no muscle at all and are limp.
Yet, you may try it and have great results, who knows.
I am a caregiver and own the Easy Pivot. It worked OK until the patient got a feeding tube -then we had a few problems with site bleeding. Really got into problems when breathing got into < 40% Forced Vital Capacity range. Patient could only tolerate that position for a few seconds.
For us the best use was pivoting from a chair to a commode. Made removing pants quite easy. Moving any distance is hard and awkward. Maneuvering over a carpet is very difficult and requires a lot of pushing force. It is a temporary solution at best, and only for some people with no breathing problems. Is just fine, though, for a small person trying to lift a much larger person. Good for lifting - poor for moving more than a foot or two. I must say, though, that Pat (the PALS) found the contraption very comfortable until her brething problems progressed.
There are much better lifts out there. Our favorite is the Voyager Easy Track Portable Lift. It is an overhead lift using a sling - no strength required at all. It is portable - we have taken it on trips and set it up in hotel rooms. GREAT for moving from bed to wheelchair, or bed to commode. I think it is a godsend - and Pat feels very secure in it.
It is in a similar price range to the Easy Pivot.
I am a caregiver for my MS stricken spouse. We own an Easy Pivot Travel Lifter, a Voyager lift, 4 EasyTrack systems, and a Take a Long lift. I would like to share some of our experiences with these different products.
As my wife's disability progressed, we first dealt with our transfer needs with the Easy Pivot Travel Lifter. It has been an excellent tool. We have been using it for over 9 years. However, like all mobility equipment, it has limitations. It is by far the easiest way for a caregiver to put underwear and pants on a patient. It gives the patient some time with weight on the patient's legs, supporting bone density. It provides stretch for legs and heels.
We used it for years on carpet and in hotels. Our carpet was quite plush. I am a healthy male, my wife weighs perhaps 160 lbs. I had no problem scooting her around on the center wheels and outlying casters.
It is lousy for potty, because you set the patient down rather abruptly. It can be a hard landing. Use of the recommended butt strap ameliorates this, but gets in the way. It is hard to maneuver the lift and a wheel chair in most potty rooms, even handicap accessible stalls or one hole restrooms. It is convenient only in hotel bathrooms of generous size - most older hotels and motels just don't have enough room. I've made it work in some tight places, but it can get uncomfortable for patient and caregiver.
It is great for getting into and out of bed if the patient can hold herself sitting upright. The telescoping tubes holding the casters let you get close enough to a platform bed to make the transfer. You can't do a transfer into a platform bed with a Hoyer lift - no place for the legs to go.
Transfers to and from a wheelchair are fast and easy.
Transfers into a car from outside are nearly impossible. However, we have a Chrysler IMS ramp van with handcontrols and transfer seats, and I can use the EasyPivot inside the van to transfer from the wheelchair into the drivers seat or passenger seat. This provides a useful and comfortable alternative to long distance travel in her old power chair, although since acquiring a Permobil repositioning chair, the need for this manuvering has much diminished.
I had to modify the foot tray to give her a bit more altitude and allow a wider stance. We feel the Easy Pivot is probably more comfortable for a man than a woman because of the geometry of the foot tray, the knee braces and the location of the pivot mechanism, but a bit of tinkering and addition of a wooden platform slightly higher and custom designed to hold her feet at the desired angle, plus some added padding for the knee braces, gave us a customized geometry for her.
We've used it for about 8 transfers per day for 9 years with no mechanical issues. I've broken it down for traveling, but it remains large and awkward. It came with a huge travel bag. I replaced some bolts with removable pins to make collapsing for travel a bit easier. Easier is not really easy, but at least its possible.
Easy Track is a relatively inexpensive way for a do it yourselfer to implement a ceiling lift. I am very nervous about the security of bolting into rafters, and feel that is a job for the pros. Easy Track posts are easy to install, and flexible for changes in room arrangements. It can also be fastened to a wall with a bracket system you can get in lieu of a post. That ties you down, but avoids the post as an impediment to navigation. Six 3/8 lag screws into studs is a bit of work, and the bracket isn't particularly attractive, but it's a fast job and still allows for diy reconfiguration if desired.
We have a two bracket system in the shower, a two bracket system in the potty room, and a one post two bracket system in the bedroom, and another two post system I use where needed from time to time - travel, basement, easy chair access.
To move from bed to potty, I put the hygiene sling on her, I clip the Voyager to the bed system, transfer her from bed to wheel chair, let her hold the lift on her lap and drive to the potty room, then clip the lift to the trolly on the potty system, then transfer her from chair to potty. Not as elegant as a full bedroom suite ceiling track system, but much less cost, and didn't have to take out any doors. We've been using the Voyager for 4 years without a hitch. About 10 lifts per day.
I have neighbors with a Voyager that's been in use 6 years. It has had some electronic and mechanical problems that I have fixed with a screwdriver and a willingness to take anything apart. They've worn out a battery. We bought two, and both seem as strong as when we bought them. The batteries are something like 100 bucks, as I remember.
We had to modify the Take a Long lift significantly to make it work. We could not get the sling provided to work properly on my wife, primarily because of her shape and lack of shoulder strength. The device is a good idea. I am more confident of its use for a man than a woman, because of the seating geometry, buy I wouldn't be surprised if others had more success. I'd be willing to share more of our experiences with that device if there is interest.