Thousands of family caregivers get injured every year while lifting and transferring seniors with limited mobility. Those injuries include back sprains and strains, pulled muscles and broken bones. If you’re currently providing a loved one with daily living assistance, using a patient lift could make it an easier and safer experience for you both. However, patient lifts do come with some safety restrictions that you need to be aware of. Understanding what those limitations are will help you decide if a patient lift is the right choice for you.

Patient Lift Restrictions

According to guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are several questions that you’ll need to answer before using a patient lift, including these:

The Care Recipient’s Physical Capabilities

  • Are they able to assist you while being transferred?
  • Based on the person’s weight, physical condition and the manufacturer’s guidelines, is the lift appropriate for them?
  • Can just one caregiver safely transfer the individual using the lift?

Any Medical Conditions They Might Have

  • Do you have the proper lift and sling for the recipient’s medical condition?
  • Will using the lift make their condition(s) worse?

Their Mental State

  • Is the senior mentally alert enough to understand what’s going on, and to clearly follow your instructions?
  • Will the use of a lift make them feel agitated, resistant or combative?

Regarding cognitive abilities, using a lift on a senior with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is usually not advisable because they can easily get confus