McGlynn Dunedin care home team leader Carina Stewart, says upgrading the equipment has improved the pair’s daily routine significantly.
“When I first came into this home six years ago, Karen was walking with a gutter frame and her mobility was great. But her health has slowly declined. In recent years she has used a standing hoist, but she began leaning over to the side and back. She was also using a pinky finger to hold on to the handle which was very unsafe.”
To address Karen’s needs and safety, Carina put an OT referral through which resulted in Cubro supplying Karen with an Ergolet Solar 175 mobile full body hoist and a Silvalea universal deluxe sling with head support. The design and shape of the Solar's chassis and lifting arm provides much more space for Karen, and the curved legs allow a wider base spread, so the hoist can be used to provide safe transfers to and from large chairs, wheelchairs and her shower commode.
“The problem with most hoists is the legs don’t go out very wide so you can’t get the person right into the back of the chair,” Carina explains. “When you sit them in their wheelchair, there’s this huge gap behind them and you’re literally having to pull the person back into the chair.
“Whereas with this new hoist, the legs go out really wide. It also goes really high — we always joke to Karen ‘you could do the dusting around the lights’ because it gets her up that high. We no longer have to try and lift her to reposition her. All that’s required is just a gentle hand on her knee to guide her really so she’s in line with the chair. And that’s it.”
The number of injuries associated with moving and handling people remains a key challenge to healthcare workers. This is why, when used correctly, equipment such as the Solar can help reduce the musculoskeletal strain and physical burden on carers.
“It just saves so many support workers’ backs because it’s much easier to position someone. It’s amazing.”
Karen’s new Silvalea slings are also much more comfortable to use. They have shaped leg sections to support the hip and thigh.
“When we’re lifting Karen up, she slides in the sling into a nice upright position… When you’re taking her down onto the chair, she also goes down nice and straight so her body is much better aligned from the start. It’s a lot more comfortable for her and easier for us to facilitate safe transfers.”
Having worked in the age care sector for over 30 years, Carina wishes she’d had access to equipment of this standard ‘years ago’. “When you do this job for a long time, your back is often not that great.
“Hoists have always been very generic — just small, medium or large — and they’ve never really done their job. But this one does. You can take the legs out so wide. You can take it right up to the chair and she’s sitting nice and upright. It’s great. I couldn’t rave enough about it.”