Thursday, July 26, 2012

Caregiver Aids #16: DayLite Sling

When I was perusing the Surehands site (I believe it's called Handimove) in advance of purchasing our newest lift system, I noticed they had a new kind of sling which they call the DayLite Sling. It's specifically designed for people who spend a lot of time sitting on their sling, which admittedly happens to Skip. Her regular sling that she uses day in and day out cannot be removed once she's seated in her chair. I've always suspected sitting on the mesh sling reduces the effectiveness of the uber-fancy Roho cushion she has. Roho cushions are filled with little air bladders that give more pressure relief than your average wheelchair cushion.
I was intrigued by the DayLite sling and the salesguy who came to check out our new place brought one with him for me to look at. The key differences between this sling and conventional slings are:
  • It uses parachute fabric which is light and smooth. Also wicks away sweat from the skin. Typical slings are made with a none-too-soft mesh or a sueded fabric.
  • The sling has extremely flat seams so there's less possibility that a sore could develop where a seam meets the skin.
  • It's made in a split leg design so it can be easily removed from under the patient if desired.
  • The sling features batting in the legs so there's less likelihood of bunching when placed under the patient's thighs.
Let me just say I was taken aback by the cost of this item -- $450! However, if it delivered on its promise, I figured it would be much better for Skip to use it day in and day out.
Amazingly, it delivers! It is the best sling I've ever used by far. By a mile. I've always hated using split leg slings. Skip has only used them in the past when she was going out and wanted to be sling-free in her chair. Putting the sling back under her before transferring from wheelchair to bed was somewhat of an ordeal and often resulted in less than smooth transfers. In fact, once the transfer went so wrong, I had to call the fire department to come over and help me get Skip from the half-in, half-out position she once got caught in with a split leg transfer gone wrong. With the DayLite Sling, the legs easily slide under Skip for correct placement due to the slippery fabric. The sling legs do not bunch and provide good support under her thighs.
I still can't believe how much it cost but I rationalize the expense by reminding myself how much better this design is for Skip and how long it's expected to last. I expect we'll still be using this particular sling when we see 2022.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Surehands Installation

My very first Caregiver Aids post was about the Surehands lift we had installed in our old home. It served us very well and proved a safe and convenient transfer method for the last 4 or 5 years. When we moved to our new home, I knew we'd want to get a new one installed as quickly as possible.

I set up a time for the salesperson from the Surehands distributor/installer to come to the condo even before we were fully moved in. He took measurements, reviewed options, discussed equipment we had that could be reused and/or traded in. Within a couple days, he sent us quotes for 3 different installation options. In one case, we could use our old motor and track and pay only for installation. In the other 2 options, we'd upgrade to the new motor. We decided to get a new motor since the one we were using we'd purchased used and was getting a bit old.

As it turned out, the ceiling in our bedroom is almost 12' high. A bit lower and they'd have installed the Surehands track directly onto the ceiling. At that height, though, they needed to install sturdy bars, like rebar, that hang down about 2' and then suspend the track from these bars.

We set up a 10am appointment for last Wednesday. The installers showed up right on schedule and got to work. It took the installer quite a while to find joists in the ceiling. His last ditch effort was to cut a hole in the ceiling to find them. If he hadn't been able to find them, we'd have had to go to Plan B - with a wall-installed motor or a bridge going up the walls and across the ceiling to hold the motor and track. Neither had appeal (certainly, the bridge is more expensive) and would have delayed the installation by quite a bit. Fortunately, he found what he needed after cutting the hole and they were finally underway.

Well, the whole thing took a long time -- 9 hours! They occasionally grumbled to the effect ... "they told us it was an easy job -- only 2 or 3 hours," but managed to soldier on and get the whole thing completely installed for us.

You can see in the ceiling where the hole was replaced and mudded, along with filling the many test holes drilled before the hole was cut. In reality, they hardly show and I don't see any point in repainting them.

If you look at the photo from our last home, Skip used a body support for lifting when it was first installed. She switched to a sling a few years ago. The spreader bar that hangs from the motor has 4 spots to hold the 4 straps for lifting the sling.
Here's a photo of a sling in action from the Surehands site. Skip does not smile like this when being transferred!

Soon after the installers left, we gave the lift its first run. Worked like a charm! All around, the system is working beautifully. I would prefer a wireless remote for operating the motor, but that would have added over $1000 to the system and I just couldn't rationalize the cost.

Happily, this was the only modification we needed to make to the condo due to Skip's disability.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Post Move Pics

We've been in our new home since 7/3. Lots of progress in the unpacking, but still far to go ...

Looking at the main room as you first see it when you enter from the front hall

On Wednesday, we got all the stereo components hooked up so we can now fill the shelves in the entertainment center. The glass front cabinet is new. We bought it at a teak place that's going out of business.

My office has become a box dumping ground. The office chair arm was a casualty of the move. Can't use a rolling chair, though, at my desk. The floor is sloped so the chair rolls away from the desk when you sit down!

This room was once the main entrance to the school. The gray wall covers the double doors that were once there. It's home to paintings for now. We're getting an IKEA wardrobe for the right-hand wall. I picked up that teak wall unit off of Craigs list just before we moved.

The Hoyer lift we used for transferring Skip until we had the lift installed on Wednesday (yay!).

Long, skinny storage room. We're going to put 2 more courses of shelves above these for things we hardly ever use.

Skip's spot in the living room. She can back her chair in. It's a great spot, at the intersection of the two a/c vents blowing air into the room from about 10' up. The dogs can get up on the bed on the table to the right. There's a ramp going up to it from behind.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

There's Unpacking to Do!

The main room (LR/DR/Kitchen combo) from our new condo looked at it from 2 different perspectives. You can't tell much about it except we've got lots of windows and lots of boxes.

The move went very smoothly. It was beastly hot, but we had no rain, which is key for a successful move.

Our new washer and dryer is coming in the morning; cable guy arrives in the afternoon. Also, the Surehands representative is coming in the afternoon to assess the possibility of installing the lift in our bedroom ceiling. We should be able to use the equipment we have here in the bedroom today, which will save us mucho dinero, versus having to buy a new motor and track.

I'm hoping to get a fair amount of unpacking done tomorrow afternoon. I need to clear some space in the main room for Skip's wheelchair so she can get around.

And what the hell are we going to call the main room?