Jun 102014

Ceiling Lift installed in my room at Huntington Manor

The owner of Huntington Manor was willing to have my ceiling lift installed.

I am about to begin some posts on a subject that has been the source of puzzlement to me for some time.

Overhead lifts are widely used throughout Europe and Canada where studies have shown they dramatically reduce resident and caregiver injuries. They also cut labor costs since transfers that normally require two or more caregivers are now safely accomplished with one. Despite this information, the assisted living industry in the United States appears to be intractably opposed to overhead lifts, or for that matter any kind of patient lifts, within their facilities. Asking around I have found that many of the major chains have forbidden facilities from installing these systems. Instead they require the caregivers to do the lifting and repositioning. Some claim that overhead lifts would increase labor costs and lead to more injuries and lawsuits, despite the evidence that the opposite is true.

I am trying to determine why there is such opposition. I’m also trying to learn if the problem is as widespread as I believe. Today I heard from a facility that is part of one of the largest chins in the country. According to the person I spoke with, the decision came from their risk management people. (Unsure whether it is an in-house department or a separate risk management company.)

I need your help. Please comment on this post or my Facebook entry that I have linked to this post and let me know anything you have observed on the subject. I plan to publish the first article around the beginning of next week.

Topics will include:

An overview of the issue.
The types of modern overhead lifts available and how they work.
The myths and truths about overhead lifts.
Examples of the use of overhead lifts in other countries.
Exposing either the ignorance or the lack of concern for patients and caregivers that hinders their use in assisted living facilities in the United States.

If it turns out to be obstruction by either risk management or insurance companies I will address that subject as well.

I will deeply appreciate any help you can give me.

  7 Responses to “Why are US Assisted Living Facilities so Slow to Adopt Ceiling Lifts?”

  1. Mike,
    I will look forward to the article as I am in assisted living. I consider myself lucky because they use a hoyer lift where I am, but that means I will be dependent on bed baths and a commode as the lift does not fit into the bathroom. The overhead lift I feel would be better. Where I am they have a room with a bathtub that would be used much more if there were a lift. Keep up the good work,

  2. My husband was diagnosed with IBM IN 2007. He is now confined to his wheelchair, bed and recliner. As he can no longer transfer we installed a ceiling lift in his bedroom. It is so easy to operate. There is no lifting involved. When he needs to use the bathroom, brush his teeth or bath he is transferred to a shower chair which rolls right over the toilet, up to the sink or into the shower. We are very fortunate to have Comfort Keepers come in and help so I am able to get out and run errands, etc. We also have long term care insurance that we bought years ago. Although Medicare has not covered the ceiling lift our long term care insurance has, plus the shower chair and a caregiver. I am amazed at how easy the ceiling lift works. Thanks for your continued support through the blogs you write. julie

  3. Mike,
    I am writing on behalf of my mother as she has difficulty writing. She has had IBM for 14 years and she loves your blog! This post really called home for her. My mother has complete and total fear of ever having to go to the hospital. It has been a nightmare every single time. There are NO LIFTS! They claim they have them but they are not to be found. My mom has Sure Hands Lifts in her home which have been a true blessing. We were just saying the other day how very frustrating it is to even go to the dr for an examination. Until you are disabled you do not realize how ill equipped these offices that are suppose to help the ill really are??? Thank you for all you do to help those with IBM. We would love to help in any way we can get the word out to help with the ongoing care for this horrible disease.

  4. Mike, I am very grateful that you still have the spunk and willingness to address this issue. I do hope you will get all the support that it will take to go forward.

    In our very own circumstances we chose to use an Easy Pivot Lift by Rand Scott. Since we have a 2 story home we will need a second one for upstairs where our now curbless shower is located as well as our bedrooms. We do hope that Medicare will cover at least part of the cost for this lift. I have heard that they will only cover the most cost effective lifts even if those are not the best choice for an IBM patient.

    For downstairs we use an old model Easy Pivot that we were able to obtain from our local MDA loan closet. Our living room has been changed into my “hospital” room with hospital bed and commode. Life has its own challenges for us with disabilities and ADA has a long way to go to fight for compliance in all these areas.

    Glad you seem to have recovered from your nasty bed sores. Have a nice weekend.

  5. Hello, Mike,

    Try searching for articles on Google Scholar.

    I am interested in this topic because my husband is a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed 3 years ago. We have requested a ceiling lift from the VA. They have categorized him as ‘catastrophically disabled’, but since IBM isn’t considered to be ‘service-connected’ he probably will have to settle for a hoyer.

    We have been following your blog for about 3 months and we think of you often.

  6. Hi Mike my Daughter works in the care industry in the UK and part of the use of lifts etc is for the Care giver to have some safety too so they dont get injured lifting, and they aid the safety of the disabled person too, i’ll ask her about rules and regs etc i thing i have found useful too is Stairs house adaptions and walk in shower bathrooms, we have just had a stair lift fitted on safety issues for my wife it was Free provided by the local council.
    Regards Chris.