How to choose your Hoyer Lift
Let's start with: "What is a Hoyer Lift?"
People who are living with immobility can rely on the Hoyer lift to safely transport them from place to place with the help of their caregivers. A Hoyer lift is a mobility tool used to help seniors with mobility challenges get out of bed or the bath without the assistance of another person. Named for its inventor, the Hoyer lift is also referred to as a portable total body lift or a patient lift.
These devices can be free-standing, on wheels, or can be secured to a wall or the ceiling, depending on the user’s needs and room set-up.
Types of Hoyer Lifts
There are many types of portable total body lifts, including varieties that can easily move from one room to another, and those that are bolted to the ceiling. Some lift systems can be installed throughout the house to combine these functions, so a person can move from one room to the next easily without the use of a wheelchair. There are several variations of the devices, including:
- Power Hoyer Lifts: This style of lift features an electric motor that replaces the muscle strength typically needed to move a person. When activated, a hydraulic pump will move the sling-bearing arm up and to the desired position. These lifts tend to be the most expensive, as well as the safest for caregivers who want to save their backs when moving their loved ones. In the event that the power went out, these lifts are always equipped with a manual handle so no one is ever stuck in a lift due to power loss.
- Manual Hoyer Lifts: These lifts use a hydraulic pump system to help you move a person, and are sometimes referred to as hydraulic lifts. With a similar construction to the power lift, the manual lift has a hydraulic level that raises the sling when pulled. These are great budget-friendly options for the at-home caregiver, often costing only a few hundred dollars, which is cheap compared to a power lift. Unless specified, manual lifts do not come with slings- you will usually need to purchase one in addition to the lift.
- Sit-to-stand Hoyer Lifts: These personal lift devices help people who can sit up in bed or a chair pull themselves up to a standing position. The sit-to-stand style lifts are only appropriate for those that can bear some weight, as using the device requires the person to use the lift as a tool to help pull themselves up, and most devices can support a person up to 300 pounds. These lifts have varying features, from narrowed edges to open bottoms for ease of access, depending on your needs. While hospital-grade sit-to-stand lifts can easily cost over $5,000, it is now possible to purchase an affordable model that may save you money, but will not compromise on quality or safety.
Ceiling Hoyer Lifts: Ceiling lifts are a great long-term solution for when you want the convenience of moving from one room to the next without having to transfer in and out of a wheelchair. These systems can either be free-standing or secured to the ceiling on tracks. There are many varieties of ceiling lifts, some designed for bathrooms, other for bedrooms, and some designed to help transport throughout the entire house. Many ceiling lift motors are sold separately from the tracks, as well as the body sling- make sure to check that the product you purchase has a track system to install if you don’t already have one in your home.
How a Hoyer Lift Works
While there are many different types of lifts, the basic premise is the same across the board- a comfortable sling is laid down under the person that needs help moving, and is attached securely to an arm that extends in various ways to get that person where they need to be. The hydraulic arm lifts the person into the air and in the desired direction.
Lifts move in many ways; some rotate, others are set up on a track system. In this way, a person with limited mobility is able to safely get around and caregivers are also spared the extra strain of moving a person manually.
Paying for a Hoyer Lift
It may or may not be affordable to simply order your own Hoyer lift for your home. If you are having trouble paying for your home mobility device, consider financial assistance options such as:
- Medicare: Patient lifts are considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME), and with a prescription, may be covered by Medicaid or Medicaid or Medicare Assistance.
Veterans Affairs: There may be various programs available for you, depending on what part of the country you live in. Many states, such as Texas, have programs to help veterans access DME, regardless of their ability to pay. Check out this handy guide to see more about Veteran’s benefits that could help pay for aging supplies.