Lifting Aid Selection Guide

Selection of a good lifting aid

Question:  I bought my folk's good lifting equipment, why do they keep getting hurt?

Answer:     There are two primary reasons for this issue, either your equipment is designed incompletely/poorly, or your personnel refuses to use the equipment consistently.

You must have well-designed equipment AND get people to use it. Below are the 10 critical aspects/attributes necessary for an effective lifting aid.

Does your lifting system consider…?

  1. Natural patient AND care provider movement patterns- Unfamiliar movement patterns increase injury rates.
  2. The psychology of the patient being assisted-
    1. Does the patient feel safe, confident and pain-free during movement? Fearful or pain-induced sudden movements increase injury rates.
    2. Maintaining patient modesty promotes confidence and reduces litigation risk.
  3. The psychology of the care provider (Why won’t my people use the lifting aids I have bought them?) This is a big one! If it doesn’t meet these criteria, it will be left in storage and ignored.
    1. Size– a large, cumbersome, or heavy system will be rejected
    2. Versatility for lifting situation- Must be usable in the majority of lifting scenarios/ modalities/ locations. (think tight areas/restricted access)
    3. Versatility for patient size/ physiology- Must be usable on the widest range of patients. Consistent use promotes confidence in the equipment.
    4. Ease of use – A complicated system with many optional parts will be rejected
    5. Ease of care– A system that is difficult to clean and maintain will be rejected
    6. Acceptance by patients- If the patients don’t want the system used on them, your personnel will acquiesce.
  4. The physics of patient movement (how many variables can we track) Unexpected variables in the movement process are the primary basal cause of injury. Shifting loads, equipment displacement or transitional movements equal increased injury rates.
  5. The teamwork aspect of patient movement Coordination is key. (is everyone working together or against each other?) Does your device take advantage of the “Team of Two Concept?
  6. The convenience of handle placement in respect to lifting form throughout the lift- You have to start with good form AND maintain it throughout all modalities of movement.
  7. Why they say “A.B.C.” (Ambulate Before Carry)- -You lose if you carry. – 100 percent weight-bearing and exponentially higher team coordination requirements mean higher injury rates. Patient ambulation is by far the safest. Carrying should be the last resort.
  8. Magnification of force – Being able to efficiently apply to lift effort allows a greater margin for error and a reduced need for personnel in a confined area. Do more with less personnel!
  9. Liability in device applicability and safety- Is your device purpose-designed for the chosen modality of patient movement. “Make do” just won’t do. Using makeshift devices (rolled up sheets) or untested/uncertified equipment opens the organization up to unacceptable liability from failure and injury
    1. Is the system designed for that modality of lifting?
    2. Does the system ensure adequate patient control?
    3. Is it tested and rated for the requirements of the lift?
  10. Cost-effectiveness of the system- Does the system cost more than it saves or is it too expensive to afford in the first place?

If your adjunct doesn’t account for every one of these critical considerations, you are buying the wrong lifting system, and your teams won’t use it consistently. Wasted money.

My system addresses EVERY ONE of these requirements. That is why it is so safe, and personnel voluntarily use it. I am happy to clarify any of these attributes with you.