Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FAQ – Lifting: Mobile Lifts vs. Ceiling Lifts

FAQ – Lifting:
    Mobile Lifts vs. Ceiling Lifts

Mobile floor lifts have been the standard for safe patient transfers of non-weight bearing patients for decades. In recent years there is a focus on ceiling lifts as opposed to floor lifts.

Why Ceiling Lifts?

Often multiple types of floor lifts are used which need to be easily accessible and located (within 50 feet) of staff. With storage space limited 100% compliance is impossible to enforce. Ceiling lifts remove this barrier.

Ceiling Lift Benefits
  • Require less space for storage
  • Require few steps to complete a task
  • Readily available when needed.
  • Can be used for showering and bathing
  • Can be used in confined areas where a floor lift is difficult to maneuver, and low beds are not a hinderance
  • Is not affected by different floor heights or ruts in carpets
  • Patient can be lifted higher for positioning in bed, or used for changing sheets while in bed
  • Are easier to use around patient monitors and other equipment
  • Are used for wound care in conjunction with turning sheets and sling bar clips
  • Offers much closer contact with the patient
  • Ceiling tracks are well received and generally feel secure since they experience no sudden movement
  • RoMedic is capable of lifting 1,250 pounds

What Are the Cost Comparisons?

To answer this question let's examine a case study:1
    Wyandot County Nursing Home in Sandusky, OH:
  • 100 bed facility
  • A-Wing 32 beds – requires minimum help with daily living
  • B & C Wings 32 double rooms and 4 private ones – receives care that ranges from extensive to total
  • 90 employees, 45 are CNA's
  • Staff ratio is 2.4 hours for each resident per day
  • Spending $140,000 in worker's compensation per year
  • CNA turnover rate was 55% requiring on avg 25
    new CNA's to be hired each year
  • One back injury cost Wyandot $240,000 in worker's comp.
  • Purchased Floor and Sit-to-Stand lifts and found they were not the answer in Wings B & C, ceiling lifts did prove successful
  • Annual savings include: $55,000 in payroll costs, $125,000 in turnover costs and worker's compensation declined from $140,000 per year to $4,000 for a Total Savings of $316,000 every year.
  • Wyandot spent $280,000 total between new beds & ceiling lifts
The wife of one totally dependent resident who has been at Wyandot for eight years reports that because of her husband's size, he cannot help the nurses and nursing assistants in moving him from place to place. Before the overhead electric lifts and electric beds were installed in his room, it took three and sometimes four nursing assistants to move him from the bed to his cart or to the toilet. He had numerous bruises from falling and dreaded being moved. With the lifts in place, the resident's wife reports that the staff "can easily move him about to his chair and to the toilet. He cannot sit without help but the sling gives him comfortable support and makes it possible to have some dignity."

While ceiling lifts require a larger initial capital investment than other SPH equipment, there is positively no better return on your money spent.


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  1. OSHA, Guidelines for Nursing Homes, Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders 2003; Appendix A – A Nursing Home Case Study, pp.36-40
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