With advance in medical science, life expectancy has increased, resulting in increase in aged population. We therefore need to care for them for a longer duration. It is imperative to learn the right methods of lifting and transferring immobile old persons in order to:
- prevent them from falling or injuring themselves,
- reduce the strain to the person lifting/transferring them.
Methods of transfer on bed
1. TO MOVE UP AND DOWN ON BED IN LYING POSITION
The helper shall place one hand under the shoulder, the other hand under the knees of the elderly. This position helps to pull them up or down on bed. Simultaneously the elderly may help by holding the helper's arm or holding the bed frame and pulling himself.
2. TO MOVE TO SITTING POSITION
The helper shall turn the elderly to one side and move his knees and feet out of the bed, while his thighs rest on the bed. The helper shall place one hand under his shoulders in such a way that his upper back rests on the helper's forearm. The elderly person can also rest his head on the helper's elbow. The helper shall pull him up with the hand under his shoulders, while simultaneously pushing his legs down with the other hand.
Methods of transfer to other surfaces
1. ONE HELPER LIFTING THE ELDERLY
The helper shall position the elderly at the edge of bed and shift his hip forward till his feet touches the ground. The helper shall then place his feet in front of the elderly's feet to prevent slipping, and also place his knees to block the elderly's knees. The elderly may place his hands on the helper's shoulders. Helper shall then hold the elderly's waist and lift him up to a standing position, then turn his waist towards the direction of surface to be transferred to.
If the elderly's height is short or the elderly is sitting on lower surface, the helper may consider holding the elderly by the upper back region instead of his waist. By interlocking the fingers of his both hands, the helper can get a better grip during the transfer.
2. TWO HELPERS LIFTING THE ELDERLY
This method of lifting is advisable if the elderly is too weak to maintain sitting position or assist in transfer, if they are obese, if the surfaces of transfer are of unequal height, or the surface where the elderly is to be transferred is too high. One helper shall stand on the back side of the elderly and hold the elderly by moving his hands from below the elderly's armpits and interlocking fingers of both his hands in front of elderly's chest. Alternatively, the helper may hold the elderly's forearm as shown in the picture below. This provides a stronger grip, especially if the elderly person is weak.
The other helper shall hold the elderly's knees or lower end of thigh. Both these person have to synchronize and do the lift.
Another method is to lift with the elderly keeping his legs straight, as shown in the picture below.
Assistive devices to aid transfers
In case it is still difficult to do transfers with above methods, there are various assistive devices to ease out the transfers.