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.


Muffie said...

Not sure exactly how the contraption works, but it looks really sturdy. Good luck as you continue to settle in.

SirFWALGMan said...

Wireless costs a grand? Wow. What for? Some kind of base controller or something? It's not like going from manual to motorized is it? weird.

Also what kind of handy man can not find the joists? I mean I suck at this kind of stuff but don't they have some beeping machine thingy that does it.. a stud finder or something...

Glad your liking the new place though and getting settled in! I will have to make it up to Foxwoods one of the weekends and hit the tables with you guys.

Webster said...

Sorry that Skip doesn't smile like that when she's being transferred because when she does she sure is a cutie pie.

Bonnie Hopkins said...

Great posts! I seem to be able to find endless sites advertising these type of systems, but none that say how much they actually cost. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can locate that info? Also, do insurance policies cover anything? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cranky said...

Muff - I hope you never need to know how this contraption works!

Waffles - The salesguy wasn't comfortable with the cost for the wireless remote. He explained they have to put some electronics into the motor which accounts for a lot of the cost. It'd be great if you came to Foxwoods sometime. I've been going there on Saturdays lately.

Webster - Skip does have a number of different smiles, all super cute. I'll have to get her to smile during her next transfer. :-)

Bonnie - we called Surehands or sent them a note through the "contact us" feature on their website. They got in touch with the folks that handle Massachusetts installations. In order to get a price, we needed a visit from a representative of the company so he could see what Skip needed and the setup at our home. No insurance help for this kind of installation. We did get $2000 from the MS Society for the first installation, but that covered less than half the total cost.

Bonnie Hopkins said...

Thank you for the quick reply. My mom and I are caregivers for my 66 year old father who had a bilateral stroke 2 years ago. His quality of life is in the toilet at this point, and I am afraid we will loose him if he doesn't get some type of independence. This might just save his life! Thank you so much, and keep up the good work!

lightning36 said...

Great to see things are moving along well for you. Enjoy the new place!

Cranky said...

Bonnie - I hope your family finds a good solution to help your dad and, as a result, you and your mom. Caregiving is hard work! I'm glad you and your mom have each other.

Light - we are definitely getting there. The amount of boxes still left is a bit daunting, though.

Patrick said...

"Skip does not smile like this when being transferred" now that not only made me smile but always disturbingly laugh out loud at my monitor.:) Patti not only does not smile but curses and swears her way through her sling. In large part why I still physically transfer her by myself with the ol tried and true one person unassisted transfer most nights per week even in the care facility era and even post lung cancer surgery. I know she 'laughs too much' as she puts it and I keep trying as long as I can.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

Cranky said...

You're a good man, Patrick. So compassionate to still do the one person transfer because Patti is unhappy with the sling. Frankly, I'd be scared, or at least trepidatious, if I was hoisted up in the air in a sling. Skip endures these kind of things with courage and great aplomb.