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Topic Patient lifting Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By mylove On 2009.08.31 01:31
Off topic, somewhat... but not really. :)

My teenage daughter (who weighs as much as I do) had foot surgery this Friday and is totally laid up. She has her foot in a soft splint, and is not to put any weight whatsoever on that limb. This means that she needs help getting up and down, out of bed, and in and out of the car and the bathtub. While she was in the recovery room of the hospital, she needed to get out of the bed and into the wheelchair so she could get to the bathroom, and I helped her to do that.

Today, two days later, I'm finding that I have some pulled muscles in my lower back/posterior/thighs. I'm sure this means I'm lifting wrong when helping her get up and down. So far, what we've found for example that works to get her from a sitting to a standing (crutches) position is for her to loop her arms around my neck while I 'hug' her in a squat, then we slowly stand up (this way I'm lifting from my legs). So my question is this: can anyone tell me better ways to transfer patients from bed to chair, from bed to standing, in and out of baths and cars? I know there are techniques that work; just not sure where to find information/demonstrations. Plus I knew there was a board full of experts on the subject here (either that or a whole lot of people keeping their resident chiropractors in business!) ;) Any suggestions?

By annwood On 2009.08.31 01:44
Why isn't your daughter using crutches? If it is only her foot she can easily sit herself up on the side of the bed and balance on one foot if necesary. I would think a wheelchair would be what she needs right now and they have legs which can be independantly elevated to keep her foot elevated. Unless she is going to the physician she does not need to be in a car. Even then she can balance on one foot and do most of the work herself. I would use a stool in the shower and have your daughter bathe with a plastic bag over the foot. Tub baths are not practical right now.

The device you asked about is a Holter Lift but I don't think the expense of one is practical for the short time she will be needing it. Even when my husband needed a great deal of help I had him do as much as possible - that old nursing principle.

Ideal lifting technique is to use your thighs as much as possible and not your back. Maintain a good center of gravity with your feet planted about 18 inches apart. When lifting hold the patient as close to your body as possible.

Good luck.

By mylove On 2009.08.31 02:03
Maybe I should have clarified a bit: she is using crutches, and we have a wheelchair with an ele leg lined up just for the first week or so (school starts on Wednesday, and we felt it was a better option than the wobbly crutches, which could be scary in a hallway full of pushing teenagers). She's on some heavy duty pain meds right now so she's a bit woozy, so I've been assisting her a bit for the first few days. I had this surgery twice before, so I know it will get better fairly quickly. However, my first thought was that this was a great 'practice session' for learning. :)

I'm mostly looking to learn some better physical technique. The fact is that I know you have to make sure you're taking care of your own body or else you're not much good to anyone else - thus, when I already felt some aches and pains, I knew I needed more info.

By annwood On 2009.08.31 10:34
I think the best thing you can do is institute an exercise program that concentrates on leg, back and upper arm strength. A session with an exercise physiologist or a persoanl trainer would be helpful. They could demonstrate lifting techniques and devise an exercise program for you.

By mylove On 2009.08.31 16:03
I was looking for some specific helpful hints that maybe you all as caregivers had amassed throughout your experience, but I did find something via Google. I'm posting it in case anyone else may find a need for it more quickly than could be obtained with a class or whatever as I did.

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00096

This info applies to anyone who might have trouble with normal ambulation and movement - not just PD (like in our case, where it's a temporary situation). It might be common knowledge to more experienced caregivers, but it was new to me.

Were there classes or something that all of you took in caregiving to ensure you were using good ergonomics or was it just something you learned as you went on? I used to throw hundred-pound hay bales, so I'm no shrinking violet, but there's a vast difference between an object and a person (who may or may not be able to assist to a degree). Plus I'm assuming that the vast majority of us are women, who tend to underweigh (or at least equal) our loved ones in body weight, which makes all of this more challenging. Even helping my daughter, whose body weight equals mine, was a more challenging prospect than it looked.

By lynn On 2009.08.31 22:33
Lifting is tough when the weight is above 30 pounds. I do know that anytime you lift hold your abdomen in to protect your lower back. Try to keep your lift centered so you are not twisting and keep the lift close to you. Bend your knees so your thigh muscles are helping with the lift.

By mylove On 2009.08.31 22:58
Thank you! :)


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