Gadgets for getting hoyer sling behind husband's back in bed

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lindyazmn

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Hi everyone.

I am looking for advice on what sort of gadget to use for getting the hoyer sling behind my husband's back when he's in bed. (I searched the forum, but I may not be using correct search terms.)

My husband is now in hospice and this cruel disease is progressing so fast. (He was diagnosed in May.) I need to save my back, but I am also committed to helping my husband be as mobile as possible. We have a hoyer and use it multiple times per day with good results. The big issue is how to get the sling behind his back when we are getting him out of bed. (We have tried leaving the sling in place while he's in bed, but it's hot and scratchy.) We sit him up in the hospital bed, but I struggle to get the sling to slide between the squishy pressure pad and his back. He is unable to lean forward in bed or roll. It seems that sliding a rigid material between his back and the bed might create enough space to slide the sling in place, but I'd love to hear about solutions from the people who know.

Thanks everyone.

Lindy
 

JimInVA

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Lindy,

We used a Hygiene style of sling with my wife. When she was in bed, it was extremely easy to get the sling on her. I'd do things in this order...

  1. She was in a hospital bed... so I'd raise the head of the bed all the way up.
  2. I would then pre-position the sling evenly (left to right) on the bed above her shoulders.
  3. I would then lean her forward in the bed. This was easy as she was already now sitting upright.
  4. Once forward, I'd slide the waist section of the sling down behind her back and as far down as I could. This would result in the bottom line of the sling touching the bed behind her back.
  5. Next, I'd lift each arm and position it through the sling's arm straps and rest her arms at her side.
  6. The hygiene sling has a strap that goes under each leg. I'd lift a leg, grab its appropriate leg strap and slide it under... lowering her leg back onto the bed when done. I did this with both legs.
  7. I'd then thread a waistline strap from one side of her midsection to the metal loop on the opposite side. This was done with both straps.
  8. I'd now be ready to slide the hoyer into place, connect the 6 sling straps and begin the process of lifting her up with the hoyer lift. Really... it was "Easy Peasy".
What was nice about the process is that while I moved her in bed to connect the various points of the sling, I really didn't have to lift anything more than her legs.

I just did a Google search with the following words - "liko hygiene vest high back (model 55)". Once the search had provided results, click on "Videos". From there, you'll see what this sling looks like and how it is used in a variety of situations... including one where the person needing to be lifted is flat on their back in the bed.

I don't know how big your husband is... but I have the sling that I've described using for Darcey, It has been washed, is clean and is still quite usable. If after reading through this post and watching the videos that I've pointed you to... and if your husband is 200# or more... I would consider loaning it to you. I'd ask that you reimburse me for shipping and that you return it to me if it doesn't work for you and your husband or when its use is no longer needed. And with the ability to video chat with our phones, I could easily walk you through any of the situations that you'd need to use it for (if that would be helpful).

Please continue conversations here, in the forum, so others can learn from what we talk about. But if you need to contact me directly... and I don't believe you have enough posts to send messages... please feel free to contact me directly by email at "[email protected]". I hope I've provided some help and given you both some renewed hope for making sling use and transfer just a little bit easier.

[Before posting, I reread your original post... and you're doing much the same as I did (i.e. leaning him forward in bed). So maybe, what we really need if we're to offer helpful advice is to understand exactly the sling that you are using, now.

My best to you...

Jim
 

lgelb

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This may not apply to you, Lindy, but a couple of things --

For those with no room to stand behind the head of the bed -- ours had to be just a couple of inches from a wall -- we pivoted Larry 90 degrees in the morning, using a slip sheet with handles that lived under the fitted sheet.

But if you are standing behind the head of the bed, try to hold him upright while you move the head of the bed down a little, just as you would do with the wheelchair, to give yourself more room, and make sure the leg portion of the bed is not elevated. You may even want the legs lower than his hips during sling placement on the upper body, then bringing them back up when you place the sling under his legs.

Agreed -- apart from comfort, it is not a good idea, skin-wise, for anyone to sit or sleep in a sling.
 

lindyazmn

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Thanks, Jim and lgelb. And Jim, your offer is so incredibly helpful and generous.

We do already have this exact sling. Along with everything else, my husband is terribly stiff and very weak, so I struggle to move him, bending forward at the waist, even from a a fully upright sitting position. He's not a huge guy, but he's very tall (6'3" and maybe now around 165-170 lbs), and I'm just 5'4". Leaning over the hospital bed and getting enough leverage to even lift his legs to slide the sling underneath is an ordeal. Once I can get the sling placed, we do fine. In the wee hours of the morning when he's cramping and wants to "sit" on the side of the bed to ease the pain, I really despair. It feels like too much to me, and my back and shoulders are wrecked. But then, it seems like a small thing for him to ask to be comfortable or upright or out of the hospital bed (that makes him feel too much like an invalid). He's in hospice now and it seems that everything is winding down, so I weep and then keep trying to get it right.

I really appreciate your responses and support.

Lindy
 

affected

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Lindy do you lower the height of the bed before you start so it is at the best height for you to work at?
I am only 5' and my Chris had a lot of spasticity and frozen shoulders.
I used a combination of slight leaning forward, rolling the sling in half and getting it under one side. I found using pillows to help 'roll' Chris worked as I couldn't truly roll him as he couldn't move and was very stiff. So I could pack pillows in front of and behind him to help position the sling.
I walked around the bed several times during the process.
A huge thing for me was to never rush. If I went slowly and carefully I could do this without real trauma to myself or Chris.
I had a great OT who also helped me figure out strategies as Chris progressed and his abilities grew less.
This is a big thing with ALS - you don't get some strategy in place and it necessarily just works from then on. You often have to revise strategies and adjust.
I had so many different combinations and patterns of pillows to keep Chris comfortable all night and whenever I got a pattern just right, things would change and I would have to work it all out again. I bought so many sizes and shapes of pillows over the time!
 

MToole

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I have been sleeping on my sling for years without a problem.
Our general purpose sling is mesh and is also used for showering.
I lay on top of it in my clothing.
We have a separate hygienic sling for toileting.
 
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