Back before the Surehands lift came into our lives, I did a lot of manual transferring of Skip. She did use a transfer board when I wasn't home, but I'm an impatient sort and, when I was around, I'd often do the transfer myself rather than cool my heels while she transferred.
The transfer process involved ...
- positioning Skip's wheelchair next to the bed or recliner or toilet
- bending over and grabbing her upper arms about midway between shoulder and elbow
- pick her up into a standing position
- quickly pivot and plop her onto the wheelchair/bed/recliner/toiler
But, I really had no clue what was out there in the way of transferring aids. I'd always heard about Hoyer lifts and looked at them on various disabled products websites and eBay, but thought they looked like a real hassle. The main concern I had was, how will we get Skip into the hammock to do the transfer? That seemed like it would be as much work as an unassisted transfer. One day, someone in my MS Caregivers group mentioned her daughter used a Surehands lift. I checked it out online when I got home. The lift device made a lot more sense to me than the hammocky-Hoyer and it showed the option of installing the lift in the ceiling. We have a small bathroom, so the rollable Hoyer would never have worked there.
The rest, as they say is history. Found a local Surehands installer. Owner came out with a rollable version to try it out on Skip. It worked fine for her. He checked out the bathroom and bedroom and we discussed various options for installation. We settled on two separate rails and motors (pic shows the bedroom version), one for each room. The body support, as shown in the picture, has two grey supports that go under each armpit. Then a curved hanger goes under each thigh to complete the support for the transfer. The hangers come in different styles, depending upon the situation of the individual it's set up to transfer.
Mr. Surehands priced out the work using new and used equipment. It wasn't cheap, but it was very worth it! We went with the used equipment, where possible. The installation took about a day. They came and trained us on the use of it and we've been happily taking advantage of it ever since.
In the infrequent occasions I have cause to transfer Skip today, I'm struck by how difficult it is. Her leg strength is essentially 100% gone, so is pretty much a dead weight during the transfer. I can't imagine how we'd be handling the everyday transfers without the Surehands. I feel she and I are infinitely safer today with this tool than we were before.