How Do You Use a Hoyer Lift?

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Moving a bedridden patient safely and securely is very important to make sure that there are no further complications. A major area of day-to-day struggle, for a caregiver, is the process of transfer from a mobility device to the bed or vice versa, or for that matter, from bed to the bath and back.

Continued long periods of patient transfer without help may cause back problems for nurses and caregivers. Moreover, it requires more than one person to transfer heavier individuals.

One popular solution to move a patient in and out of bed is the Hoyer lift. In this article, we will explore how do you use a Hoyer lift.

What is a Hoyer Lift used for?

The Hoyer lift, named after its inventor, is a mechanical or electrical device that can be used to safely lift a mobility challenged individual and transfer her a short distance.

It may also be called a patient lift and is mostly used to lift and transfer patients from the bed to the bath and back without any physical help from the caregiver.

At home, you can use the lift to transport your loved one between rooms or from the bed to the TV couch, or from the bed to the patio and back. Or simply for transfer between the bed and a transport wheelchair.

If you have been caring for a loved one who has lost partial or all mobility, you must consider investing in a Hoyer lift.

The Hoyer lift brings much-needed relief to the caregiver from the stressful activity of transferring an adult to and from her main resting place and also helps in restoring the dignity of your loved one.

Moreover, it eliminates the need for a second person, other than the caregiver, to help with the transfer.

Place the carrying sling beneath the patient. Then read the instructions to attach the straps to the sling and act accordingly. After this, lift the patient and with the controls attached transfer the patient anywhere conveniently.   

How do you use a Hoyer lift to move a patient from one position to another.
A Hoyer style lift

For lowering the lift and placing the patient at a secure surface hold the sling right above the surface. Then slowly through controls, lower the lift and place the patient on the surface. Don’t forget to remove the straps and slings after the transport. 

If you are looking for detailed product reviews of Hoyer style and other patient lifts, we have reviewed the best patient lifts for home use for your quick reference. You can also check out these top-rated Hoyer lifts from Amazon.

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Where Can You Use a Hoyer Lift?

Not only for patients, you can also use the hoyer lift for old people, bariatric patients or people with limited mobility.

A Hoyer lift can be used to reduce the impact of transporting an individual from one place to another, as in many cases the patient cannot be safely moved by a single nurse without putting an intense strain on both the caregiver and the patient alike.

A Hoyer lift utilizes leverage to help reduce this strain and make it easier for patients to be moved from one location to another without requiring a team of nurses to aid in the trip.

Hoyer lifts are useful in both public and private settings, and an in-home Hoyer lift can benefit the caretakers of many patients and individuals, and help prevent injuries to the individuals with mobility issues and their caregivers by taking some of the stress off of moving them from one location to another.

Hoyer lifts can also be used to help move patients into areas such as bathtubs, allowing them to go about some of their daily tasks easily without placing strain on themselves or others.

A Hoyer lift can benefit a wide range of people, from those with stability issues caused by hip or knee problems, or for people with total mobility loss, such as those with near-total paralysis.

As with any piece of medical equipment, making sure it is being operated correctly and carefully is the key to getting the most out of its use and preventing possible accidents.

Making sure you use the correct sling for the individual’s weight range and specific needs can help make transport a breeze, and can prevent injuries to the caretaker and the individual.

Here are some of the uses of a Hoyer lift, and who can get the most aid from using one on a regular basis.

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Who Can Benefit From a Hoyer Lift?

In hospitals, Hoyer lifts are most useful in the intensive care units for help with patients who may be unable to assist with the transfer process due to injury or cognizance issues.

According to Dr. Mariusz Fajfer, DC from Neurochangers Durham:

“People who have mobility issues and rely on a caregiver to help them move from one area to another could benefit from a Hoyer lift. A Hoyer lift greatly benefits the caregiver as it helps reduce the amount of strength needed to help move someone and improves the ergonomics of the movement. There are many different types of lifts, from mobile ones, to motorized, to static ones which can be secured to a wall.

Hoyer lifts tend to be used when 90-100% assistance is needed during transfers. If a person in a wheelchair has good upper body strength then certain transfers may not be an issue without a Hoyer lift. However, transfers to a bath or in and out of a bed tend to be the most difficult in which a Hoyer lift can definitely help. It also helps with any other transfers as the individual and their caregiver do not need to use as much of their strength for each movement making the transfers safer for both parties.

Like mentioned previously, Hoyer lifts can be mobile but they do tend to take up a lot of space. Keeping that in mind when looking to purchase a Hoyer lift is important.”

Hoyer lifts are used to help allow a single nurse to transport and care for patients without the risk of back injury. In many cases, Hoyer lifts are used to transfer patients from one bed to another for cleaning or treatment, or to lift a patient into a medical analysis device.

In these cases, attempting to transfer the patient without the use of the lift would be nearly impossible without a team of individuals to assist with the process, and as such the Hoyer lift saves time and energy when moving individuals who cannot move otherwise.

Hoyer lifts can also be used in the case of patients with mental health issues, as they can securely help move a person from one place to another using one of the specialized slings to keep them safely restrained through the entire process.

Most Hoyer lift slings can attach to keep the patient securely in place. These slings can be adjusted to help the patient stay upright or lying down during the transfer process while keeping them securely in place.

The ease by which these slings can be swapped out from patient to patient makes the Hoyer lift a key piece of equipment on any hospital floor, as it allows for easy movement of patients who are unable to otherwise transfer themselves from one location to another without intensive aid.

Investing in a Hoyer lift can be useful for caretakers who provide primary care for an individual with mobility challenges in their home. With their easy to use controls, Hoyer lifts are easy to control and maintain and can be used with simple instruction.

While it is important for the user of the lift to follow the instructions before use, for most people who provide solo care for an individual with severely restricted mobility, Hoyer lifts can help prevent back issues.

At the same time, Hoyer lifts can open up a wide range of previously inaccessible locations within the home , improving their quality of life. Indeed, they can be a blessing for many people who are seeking to age in place.

For families that are caring for a person with mental health issues, the security provided by using a Hoyer lift for transfers can be invaluable. In-home care of individuals who are unaware that they could injure themselves or others during the transport process can be dangerous, and a Hoyer lift can help ensure that neither the patient nor their caregiver are injured during the transfer process.

Many of the sling options of the Hoyer lift can be customized to prevent dangerous movement during transfer, and are specifically made to prevent fall risk during the transfer process. A Hoyer lift can make transport exponentially easier for the families of individuals with mobility challenges or mental health issues that may make a traditional transfer process difficult, if not dangerous, to complete.

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What Are the Different Types of Hoyer Lifts?

Hoyer lifts are either manual (hydraulic) or electric. Further, they can either be free-standing (on the floor) or wall/ceiling mounted. Of course, as the functionality and convenience of using a Hoyer Lift increases, so does its price.

Manual Hoyer Lifts

Manual Hoyer lifts (also called hydraulic hoyer lifts ) are the most basic form of Hoyer lifts available on the market, and are perfect for households that have limited access to electricity, or for situations where providing a smooth ascent and descent when transferring are less crucial.

Hydraulic Hoyer lifts use a complex system of water pressure to provide the pressure needed to raise the lift up while carrying an individual. These lifts are operated through the use of a pump level placed at the back of the lift itself, and as such require pumping to lift an individual off of the ground for transport.

The hydraulic Hoyer lift is useful in situations where charging a lift may prove problematic, such as in areas with limited electrical access, or in an emergency situation where there may be a prolonged time period without power, such as during a blackout.

However, hydraulic Hoyer lifts do tend to have some level of movement when lifting and lowering due to the nature of the hydraulic pressure. Because of this, the hydraulic Hoyer lift may not be ideal for use with more sensitive patients where rough movements may cause damage or pain to them during the transfer process. However, in the case of basic movement needs, the hydraulic Hoyer lift is perfect for both daily use and as a backup.

Here is a YouTube video demonstrating the use of a Hoyer-style lift:

Electric Hoyer Lifts

Electric Hoyer lifts, as the name implies, use electricity to lift and lower the head of the lift. Due to the more precise design of an electric Hoyer lift, both lowering and raising processes are much smoother than those of a hydraulic lift. Electric Hoyer lifts usually come with a battery backup system, allowing them to be used for hours without needing to recharge.

Electric Hoyer lifts are best used in sensitive situations where a gentle transfer is crucial to the health and safety of the patient, such as after a surgery.

While they tend to be slightly more expensive than their hydraulic counterparts, an electric Hoyer lift can ensure very smooth movement of a patient during a transfer.

Ceiling or wall fixed Hoyer Lifts

As the name suggests, these lifts are mounted on the ceiling or a wall. You would install one of these to transfer your patient from the wheelchair to the bed and vice versa. This can be your choice if your loved one is spending most of the day in a wheelchair, and transfer to and from the bed is required once or twice day.

A ceiling mounted Hoyer lift
A ceiling-mounted Hoyer lift

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How to Use a Hoyer Lift at Home?

It is essential that you thoroughly understand the working of a Hoyer lift before trying to use it to transfer your love one for the first time. What you will also require is a patient-lift sling which will be used like a cradle by the lift to support the user. Follow the below steps to successfully perform the transfer:

  • First and foremost, you must understand the steps yourself and then make it a point to explain to the patient the sequence of steps, so that she can follow and readily cooperate with the transfer process
  • You should take the patient transfer sling and place it beneath your patient. If she is totally immobile, you may want to turn her to one side first, to place the sling on the unoccupied part of the bed, and then make her turn to the other side to put the entire sling under her. Ensure that the loops of the sling are placed clear, in order to be fixed to the lift in the next steps
  • Bring the Hoyer lift close to the bed and lock the wheel so that it does not move while lifting the patient.
  • Lower the boom of the Hoyer lift towards the patient and securely fasten the loops to the hooks on the boom
  • You should ensure to lift the patient while the center of the boom is still over the bed. Once the patient has been lifted and is stable, you must slowly steer the boom from over the bed, unlock the wheels and then move the Hoyer lift towards your transfer destination
  • If you are transitioning from hardwood floor to carpeted floor, make sure to be as gentle as possible, so as to minimize swaying of patient

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What to Consider While Buying a Hoyer Lift for Your Home?

Before buying a Hoyer Lift, you will have to think about your budget, the most common transfer activity to be performed, the weight of the patient and the adjustability and functionality needed.

  • Budget: A power Hoyer lift is expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to go ahead with a manual lift
  • Transfer activity: If you anticipate transfers only from bed to wheelchair and vice versa, you may think of going ahead with a ceiling or wall fixed lift; however, a portable lift will go a long way to increase your flexibility.
  • Weight: The weight of the device is an important consideration, especially if you are buying a manual lift. With a heavy user, the lift can weigh over 300 lbs and will be exceedingly difficult to move through a high pile carpet if the device itself is very heavy.
  • Adjustability: Depending on whether you anticipate transferring your loved one from wide furniture or the floor, you may want to select Hoyer lifts depending on the extent of the adjustability of the legs of the lift or the lifting arm height.

You must remember that patient lift slings are to be bought separately and they come in different shapes and sizes to suit your exact need.

A Hoyer lift can be god-sent for patients. It gives them greater mobility and keeps them safe during the transfer process. We hope that with this article, we have been able to answer your question about how do you use a Hoyer lift.