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Manual, electric, or battery operated lifts with hydraulic or screw jack lifting mechanisms. Some lifts are wheel base mounted, so patients can be moved or transferred between rooms. These lifts are used to safely and easily transfer patients as needed with minimum risk to the assistant and to the patient. They consist of a support base, swivel bar, a sling or rigid seat, and the lifting mechanism. Some are track-mounted, usually on the ceiling, with a suspension system for the seat, motor and pulleys, in addition to a control box regulating the lift's movements.
1. The patient hoists should be capable of handling a capacity of at least 350 lb. Heavier patients are usually in specialty wards, where specialized equipment should be considered.
2. In general, patient transfer lifts should be easy to use. Placing a patient in the sling or seat should be an uncomplicated process, and the pump or lifting mechanism must be reliable and easy to operate.
3. During the normal course of use, the support material on the patient hoists often becomes soiled. To control infection, it should be able to withstand heavy use and frequent disinfection, which means it has to be washable and sanitizable.
4. The patient transfer lifts must have a range sufficient to move a patient from the floor to his bed, at minimum. Patients with limited mobility sometimes fall out of bed, and manually lifting them from the floor is a common cause of caregiver injury.
5. In order to make sure that patients are moved smoothly from room to room with mobile patient hoists, facilities should consider the base width of the lift in the closed position.
6. For easy movement, the casters should be at least 4" in diameter. A greater diameter provides an easier maneuver over obstructions. The patient transfer lift should roll well even on dense carpeting and be able to maneuver through tight or awkward spaces. To prevent movement while the patient is being positioned, at least one brake should be available on the lift.
7. Facilities should select a safe patient hoist model, which is strong and stable, securely supports the patient, and operates smoothly.
8. The patient hoist sling or seat should be selected based on the patient's needs. Patients with leg amputations may fall out of two-piece slings, because their center of gravity is higher;they have more of their weight in the upper body. Patients with weak head or neck conditions may require slings with head support.
9. Users are strongly encouraged to first try the patient hoist without a patient, to become familiar with the procedure and to assess ease of use. Only then they should try it with a patient aboard to assess the patient hoist's appropriateness for a specific patient or group of patients.
10. Facilities should examine the physical layout of the location where the bath patient lift will be used and evaluate the needs of the patient to be lifted. A particular living area or storage space may be too small for some mobile patient hoist bases. In some places, bathtub and toilet design may interfere.
11. Regardless of the area of use, the minimum and maximum bath patient lift height must match the patient's lifting needs. Transferring a patient from a high bed to a standard bathtub requires a more extensive patient hoist range than transferring the same patient from a standard-height wheelchair to a bed.
12. Track mounted patient transfer lifts are limited to use in the area where the track has been mounted.