When a medical condition confines your loved one to their bed, care becomes complicated. Moving the person for basic daily living requirements (eating, bathing, etc.) becomes difficult and time-consuming for even the strongest caretakers. For many, confinement to a bed means that living at home is no longer possible, and a nursing facility is necessary. This transition can devastate the patient and their loved ones, both emotionally and financially. However, some devices can assist caretakers and delay or prevent the need for nursing home care.
The two most commonly used devices in the home for moving a patient are the Hoyer Lift and the Barton Convertible Chair. Both methods are covered by insurance and assist the caretaker when moving a person from their bed to a chair. These devices are designed to do the heavy lifting in a manner that is comfortable for the patient and safe for the caretaker.
Patient lifts consist of a sling, a metal frame, and a hydraulic piston. The caretaker positions the patient into a sling. The sling is attached to a frame and hydraulic mechanism that lifts the person from a bed or chair. Once lifted, the device can be rolled wherever necessary.
Patient lifts are the most common device for moving a patient in the home. However, it is crucial to understand their limitations and contraindications (when they shouldn’t be used).
A patient lift requires the caretaker first to position the person in the center of the sling. This can involve rolling and physically manipulating patient. If the patient isn’t centered correctly, it is possible for the entire patient lift to tip over. Also, a patient lift should never be used when the patient has a wound on the part of the body that touches the sling due to the pressure created from hanging in the sling. Patients with sores, contractures, or back pain should transfer in a flat (supine) position, which is not possible with a patient lift.
Barton Convertible Chairs
A Barton Convertible Chair (also known as a Barton Chair) is a rolling chair that can fold flat, recline, and tilt in space. It is used together with a patient transfer system (PTS) to gently move a person from their bed to the chair with a simple hand crank. To use, the Barton Chair is simply rolled next to the bed and put into the flat position. Five straps are connected from a hand crank to the bed sheet. When the caretaker turns the crank, the patient is gently pulled into the chair. Once in place, the device is quickly raised to the seated position, and the patient can be wheeled wherever needed. Also, the tilt-in-space function allows the caretaker to re-position the patient very quickly and with minimal effort.
The Barton Chair is ideal for most patient transfer situations. However, it is essential to note that most insurers have specific coverage rules for this device.
Very often, when a person becomes bed confined the caretaker (spouse, adult child, private duty nurse) simply does not have the strength to move them. A patient transfer system such as a Barton Chair or a patient lift can solve this problem and possibly prevent the need for a nursing home.