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Ceiling Lifts Tips and Resources

What to Consider when Purchasing Ceiling Lifts

Using a ceiling lift or patient lift can help both the caregiver and the patient. For the caregiver, the risk of injury from lifting is virtually eliminated. For the patient, there is the added security that the caregiver is not struggling to lift the patient. Serious injuries can result for both parties when the patient is being incorrectly lifted by the caregiver. So a lift is a “win-win” situation.

Lifting Height: Are you only transferring the patient from the bed to a wheelchair or commode? Or will you have to transfer the patient from the floor? Some lifting units are limited in their vertical travel distance. It is important to consider the height of the ceiling for the home or wherever the lifting unit will be used and to make sure it can accommodate vertical travel distance required.

Hand Held Controls/Pendant: For patients that would like to control the lift themselves or for the convenience of the caregiver, a lift with hand held controls/pendant may be preferable. Controls on the lifting unit require the caregiver to reach over the patient to operate. Controls also require constant pressure so the caregiver must be able to keep their finger on the button the entire time it is moving up or down. If this isn’t possible or not easy for the caregiver to use, then chose a lift with a hand held controls/pendant.

Type of battery: There are 3 types of batteries that power ceiling lift units – lead-acid, NiMH and Li-ion. The type of battery will affect how many lift cycles (moving the patient up and down) you can get per charge, how quickly the battery reaches full charge, how long the battery lasts before it has to be replaced, and the weight of the lift itself. Lead-Acid batteries tend to be heavy and are toxic. Lead-Acid and NiMh (Nickel metal hydride) batteries will eventually lose their charge capacity due to the memory effect and age, regardless of use. Li-ion (Lithium Ion) batteries are lighter and have no memory effect so batteries may be charged at any time. Li-ion batteries are also expected to last 5-7 years as opposed to 2-4 years for lead-acid batteries. Ceiling lifts using Li-ion batteries (such as Savaria’s Monarch portable ceiling lift) may be preferable due to the lighter weight of the lift and battery reliability.

Call a certified dealer: A correctly installed and properly used ceiling lift will create a safer, more pleasant care environment for both the user and the caregiver. A certified dealer can show you the proper operating procedures for the lift to make it easy for both the caregiver and the patient. Some patients are able to provide self care and be completely independent whereas others may need assistance donning the sling. Once you “get the knack” for how it works, using the lift can be easy and comfortable.

Installed ceiling lifts can be quite an extensive system, with track that can take a patient from room to room. The track may feature turning points and return carousel points to easily move a person throughout the home. This type of installation must be done by a certified installer who not only understands the needs of the patient, but who can also ensure the structural integrity of the installation.