Assistive technologies can provide help to patients, caregivers and home health aides

Ten years ago Carrie suffered a stroke that affected the speech area of her brain. She had a stroke while in the hospital in front of medical personnel. They were limited in what they could do for her because she was on Coumadin, a blood thinner, and could not therefore have the meds usually given to a patient in the midst of a stroke. The damage was severe. Now she can only say one or two jumbled words even a decade later. Carrie is nearly 200 pounds overweight, she has diabetes, high blood pressure and a myriad of other health issues. Her husband Rick is her main caregiver but they also have full time live in care.For the first few years Rick could push Carrie around in a wheelchair. They went to dinner and family events. Outside activities were difficult but manageable because Carrie could assist in getting herself in and out of bed, the wheelchair and the car but as time passed she slowly lost the ability to assist with her own mobility. Rick started to lift her in and out of bed. He bought a van that the wheelchair could just roll into but Carrie would not use it. She would scream and throw an all out tantrum if he tried to persuade her. So the van sits there in the driveway unused and Rick continued to get her out of bed and into a wheelchair, out of the wheelchair into the car and so forth. As a few more years passed Carrie became completely bedridden and the tiny woman they have living there to help with her care cannot lift her.Rick has health problems of his own. He has undergone triple bypass surgery and has had valve replacement surgery all within the last decade. Rick is overweight, has diabetes and high blood pressure. Now that his wife is bedridden he doesn’t sleep because she doesn’t sleep. She watches TV all night and sleeps for an hour or so then is awake. Rick tries to nap during the day but he has to work. Luckily he works from home and can maintain a flexible schedule. Even though Rick is a big guy he is having problems lifting his wife to administer the care she requires. If the caregiver is doing all the "work" of lifting it will only be a matter of time before an injury occurs. We have done some research and found products and assistive technologies that can provide help to the caregiver, the patient and the in home health care worker.

Below are some descriptions and the websites associated with them. One of the better-known technologies for lifting people who are more extensively immobilized is Hoyer. They have a variety of products geared toward those with different types of needs. Items designed to do all of the lifting would be the Hoyer Manual Lift with Floor Pick-Up, Hoyer Deluxe Power Lift, Hoyer No-Strain Power Lift, and the Hoyer Manual Hydraulic Lift. The price tag ranges from in the low $700’s to $4000 dollars and above depending on its features. The primary care doctor can write a prescription for the Hoyer and Medicare should pay for it.
For those who still have mobility but require assistance getting up or getting around the following products can be helpful.

“SuperPoles” are designed so the people can hold on to it and lift themselves out of bed. They are installed between floors and ceilings of solid construction usually right behind or next to the bed, couch, dining room table or anywhere one needs assistance getting up and sitting down. They can be installed or relocated with out drilling, screws or damage to the floor or ceiling and generally have a weight capacity of 450 lbs.

“Friendly Beds”
These beds are sometimes called Trapeze Bed Systems and are designed to make it easier for individuals to lift themselves out of bed. There are usually rails on the side and a hanging bar within reach of the sleeping person that they can use to pull themselves up.

Aids To Daily Living:

Bathroom and shower:
There are many devices designed for the bathroom including Raised Toilet Seats, Grab Bars and Safety Rails,Shower Chairs / Benches, Wall Mounted Shower Chair / Shower Seats, Bath Lifts, Transfer Benches, PVC Shower / Commode Chairs, Bariatric Bath and Shower, Anti-Slip Products and more. Raised Toilet Seats are helpful for those who have trouble getting up or sitting down. Grab Bars & Safety Rails are a common necessity for bathroom safety when it comes to preventing slips or falls. Anyone at a more serious risk of falling should have toilet grab bars, bath grab bars, as well as wall grab bars and safety rails around their bathroom. Shower Chairs & Bath Benches are also a common item needed for bathroom safety. Wall mounted shower chairs are better buy for a more permanent situation.

Walking Aids:
There are a variety of walking aids, wheelchairs and scooters available to assist with mobility. Rollators are becoming increasingly popular because you can lean on them and the wheels make it easy to support yourself and move about. The brakes give security in case you feel it slipping a bit. It also has a little compartment to keep belongings or small items from your shopping trip. Other products include Canes, Crutches, Walkers and Merry Walkers. Wheelchairs are manual or powered and scooters are designed to operate indoors as well as outdoors. If you live in a two story house you may want to consider installing a wheelchair stair lift.

There are also small devices designed to help with dressing, gardening and a variety of other activities. We found several of these on various websites. Angel Care Nurse Registry does not endorse any of the products or websites mentioned in this post. These are only meant to get you started on your own search. Be sure to read consumer reports and blogs where “real” people discuss their opinions of the product.

This post is brought to you by Angel Care Nurse Registry

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