There may be specific contraindications against using mechanical lift devices, for example when the patient's spine is unstable and/or there is a possibility of misalignment and possible resulting spinal cord injury. Another possible contraindication might be when handling an agitated or disoriented patient whose violent movements could upset the lift, thus causing an injury. Above all, it should be assumed that any use of mechanical lifts where an element of risk is involved, such as with surgical patients or those undergoing joint replacements, should first be cleared through the medically responsible person, i.e. the physician in charge of that patient.
If you are in doubt about the wisdom of performing a particular lifting procedure on your patient, consult the attending physician. If you are in doubt about how to conduct the procedure and what equipment to use, consult your lift equipment supplier for their recommendations.
- Patient’s Condition – in addition to standard patient assessment protocols, you should consider any clinical or surgical impairments that might put the patient at risk. If there is doubt, take a few minutes extra to lift a volunteer or staff member with specific attention to the area affected, such as spine, hip, knee, or shoulder.
- Patient’s Capabilities – select slings and lifting accessories with the patient’s diminished physical capabilities in mind. Encourage independence, but not at the risk of damage such as falling or dislodging a new prosthetic knee
- Patient’s Needs – what are you trying to accomplish? If, for example, the patient’s physician wants to get her up and ambulating as quickly as possible, yet she is unstable and at risk of falling, then the suggested solution might be to obtain a combination of slings, safety straps and accessories designed to build her confidence while minimizing any risk.
The Lift Doctor*