Caregiving at Home: Use of Lifting Equipment
Written by: Lori Zambernardi, PT, PCS
Caregiving for your child at home may benefit from the use of specialized medical equipment that can help with daily tasks such as bathing, toileting, and transfers. Medical equipment provides a safe and supportive way to allow one caregiver to perform personal care activities. Obtaining equipment begins with an assessment by an Occupational or Physical Therapist in conjunction with an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), and must be ordered through a contracted vendor. It also requires a Letter of Medical Necessity and specialized physician prescriptions. Once determined appropriate, items are often covered by insurance, but this process, from the evaluation to delivery in your home, can take months to complete. A home assessment by the ATP may also be required to determine the successful use and fit of equipment specifically to spaces in your home. Pieces can often be used in combination to create the best system for your child and home.
The assessment should determine the child’s height and weight, diagnosis, functional mobility, and the caregiver’s needs with respect to their daily schedule. When a child is near or at 50 pounds, some in-home agencies (Nursing, PCA) may require lifting equipment to be used. Transfers can be done up to 12 times in one day and depend on many factors. Transfers that are done in the same space in the home, for example, from the bed to different seating/bathing devices, a stationary lift may be the best option. Something like a Patient Lift or an overbed lift may take up very little space. However, a mobile lift or Hoyer may allow for transfers to occur in other rooms. Lift systems can be manual or electric and require the use of a patient sling. Once the daily needs are determined in the evaluation and the child’s ability to participate in transfers is assessed, the team should provide you with the recommended options. A home trial is the best way to fully assess how a lift will function in your space and is often required by insurance.
For more information or to be scheduled for an evaluation, please contact one of our Pediatric Outpatient sites.