Rest homes are starting to replace their floor hoists with ceiling hoists to benefit from the improved safety, efficiency and resident experience.
Once upon a time, rest home residents were mobile, active, and in some cases, even still driving! But today, people are entering residential aged care much less mobile and requiring a much higher level care. Hoists have become the norm in rest homes, with many residents needing assistance with moving from bed, to wheelchair, to commode. Some residents require hoist transfers up to six times a day.
Until recently, most facilities have used floor hoists for these transfers. But with hoist usage increasing, many caregivers and nurses are finding that the constant use of floor hoists is starting to take a toll on their time and their physical health.
Janna Alexander from Active Healthcare says she isn’t surprised that facilities are beginning to make the shift to ceiling hoists.
“With ceiling hoists there is no twisting and turning. You can move someone with the push of a finger. The reduction in back strain and injury has been really well documented,” she says.
“I spoke to a nurse recently who has started using ceiling hoists and she says she feels much less achey after a day’s work.”
With an ageing workforce, this is an important consideration. Alexander believes equipment that is safer and easier to use will allow carers to stay in the job for longer.
Both staff and resident feel a lot safer using the ceiling hoist, she says. There is no risk of staff tripping over equipment as the floor space is kept clear. Transfers are safer, smoother and more comfortable for the resident. And their room is kept free of large, clunky equipment, thanks to the discreet ceiling hoist.
When using a floor hoist, generally two carers are needed: one has to find the hoist, make sure its battery is charged, and then both are needed to maneuver the resident. With some extra training, a single person can operate the ceiling hoist which is there in the room, charged and ready to go.
Jack Haughton is the rehabilitation and therapy manager at St John of God Halswell, a 60-room specialist service providing residential and respite support to people aged 16 to 65 living with physical or neurological impairments. Haughton says the ceiling hoists have been an invaluable addition to their facility.
“I think the ceiling hoists are really important for us as we continue to improve our service,” he says, “They benefit both residents and carers and this is one of the only changes to the workplace I have ever known that has been met with unanimous enthusiasm. We expect them to reduce injuries to staff, improve quality of life for residents and allow us to develop our processes to work more effectively.”
Although ceiling hoists are more expensive to install than purchasing floor hoists, Alexander is confident ceiling hoists deliver an excellent return on investment for facilities, given the time saved in providing care.
Active Healthcare has an installation team that can retrofit the ceiling hoists easily into older facilities, or work with architects to incorporate them into new designs.