October 5, 2016 | 9:15 pm | By Pants Up Easy
If you’re looking for NEW ways to improve the lifting techniques that you practice or advise to others in the field for their patients, then you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to discuss in particular, the best occupational therapy toilet lifting tips. Now, unfortunately not every patients home has been fitted to accomodate the fact that they are disabled and spend their waking lives in a wheelchair. I personally lived this experience as an in-home caregiver not long ago where the home my patient resided in was basically a 5,000 sq Eduardian mansion with 3 floors, that had an elevator installed for his use of going from the 1st-2nd floor in his wheelchair.
Aside from that, he was VERY opposed to making any changes to the house itself as his goal was to retain and preserve the history of the interior layout, truth be told – it was quite a beautiful Victorian home in the heart of Haight Ashbury and I respect his decision, although there were ‘certain things’ that would have DEFINITELY made things A LOT easier while working together. But I digress, lets get back to talking about occupational therapy toilet lifting techniques.
The thing is, unless you have actually performed the task of lifting someone off of a toilet and back into their chair as dead weight, you shouldn’t be eligible to give advise to those who are. Why? Well, your body type may be different than theirs and if it is, you wouldn’t advise the same-exact-thing to both of them. If one of them is shorter on the bulkier side he will want to handle (for lack of a better word) the patient differently than if someone is tall and slender who has a different leverage point when he is bending over. The variables at play are simply not the same, and if that isn’t enough to understand why and how the best occupational therapy lifting tips should vary, then let me tell you two anecdotes from REAL LIFE experience:
First, while taking care of Al (the name of my patient as a former in-home caregiver) he was pretty reluctant on making very many changes to his home that would accomodate the lifts involved throughout the day. To reference a couple items, he did not have a hoyer lift for the bed transfer, and as for the toilet; the bathtub was literally within 18″ from the front of the toilet. So yes, not much room to work with when you’re transfering someone from their chair onto the toilet and have to do a 90 degree twist whilst deadlifting them in mid-air. It was no easy task, I can assure you but one thing that DEFINITELY made the difference was finding the technique that worked the best.
Now, being 5’8″ at 145lbs my toilet lifting tips are basically: keeping the patient AS CLOSE to you as possible (literaly, our faces were touching) it may seem a bit odd at first if you’re not used to being super close to someone in this capacity, but the reality of the matter is having them as close as they are DRAMATICALLY decreases the weight off your shoulders, and lower back and allows you to really use your legs to do the lift itself. As for the twist, god forbid you have to endure a 90-degree transfer as I did, but.. if you do, (maybe the wheelchair doesn’t have room to be positioned adjacent to the toilet) then I would advise crossing the patients legs before you get them off the chair and placing one foot inbetween your legs so when you lift them off, FOR JUST A MOMENT their knees are actually resting ontop of your thighs. If they’re heavy enough (Al was 225lbs) then you won’t have to worry about falling backwards because their weight acts as a counter and makes it remarkably easier to perform the lift without injuring yourself in the process. Once I mastered this technique on doing this small trick for both the bed and toilet transfers, the lifts themselves became rather easy, even at my height where I didn’t have much room to lift vertically.
As a second example, as my former roommate (and second in-home caregiver) Aaron was a different body type: he was 6’4″ and maybe 180lbs. For him, it was EXTREMELY difficult to perform the same toilet transfer (even more than it was for me) because he was so tall his butt would hit the bathtub opposite of the front of the toilet which didn’t allow him to actually squat all the way to utilize his legs, and height during the transfer. So, naturally he formed the bad habit of leaning in with his back and using his back to perform the same lift and was really setting himself up for injury. In his case, I cannot suggest that what worked for me would have worked for him because the space was just not big enough for him to do the exact-same-thing.
So what do I advise if you’re closer to eptiomizing the example of my former roommate Aaron as opposed to myself? Well, that’s the thing: I can’t really advise much aside from telling you that you need to find the position for your body type that allows you to make the leverage point be as close to you as possible to utilize your legs. Although the toilet lift for Aaron was quite difficult he handled the bed transfer like a pro because he had more room and could literally just squat down and rise up with Al in his arms and place him on the bed. Again, all situations will vary and what really determines the best occupational therapy toilet lifting tips and techniques are your body type. However, regardless of your body type our product we’ve created here at Pants Up Easy aims to make your, and your patients lives easier by elimating some of the lifts involved daily for basic things such as: putting pants on, readjustments, and much more.
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