15 Simple Solutions to Home Safety Challenges
Special Living Magazine
The biggest hurdle for mobility challenged individuals is often not going from home to a store or doctor but moving from their wheelchair to a bathtub or bed. Transferring from one spot to another can be time-consuming and many times requires the help of another person.
Adam Fine, of Accessible Design & Consulting, points out the need for safe transfers and has made it an important part of his business. “One of the biggest safety concerns for people with disabilities is transferring from one place to another like from a wheelchair to a bathtub. It is difficult for the person transferring as well as the person aiding in the transfer. But there are lifting and transferring products available that make the process safer and easier. Although we carry a full line of mobility products, some of the most important and frequently requested products are transfer aids.”
Many years ago, simple, wooden transfer boards fueled an entire marketplace of mobility products.
The evolution of the transfer board progressed as manufacturers moved from wood to plastic to alleviate the possibility of splinters and beveled edges helped with positioning the boards underneath the patient. But the best feature that showed the greatest improvement was the addition of the sliding disc found on today’s top models. The sliding transfer board, or Beasy Board, as it is sometimes called, comes in a variety of lengths, has tapered sides, and a round disc on top that slides and swivels. It is ideal for transferring from a wheelchair to a bed, or toilet and back. The swivel movement makes it easier to accommodate a wheelchair that does not have a fold-down armrest. The newest variation of this model is the sliding bath lift board which also swivels but is much shorter in length.
Overhead Ceiling Lift
An overhead ceiling lift is an efficient product for people with diminished mobility. It is battery-operated and equipped with a powerful motor that safely lowers patients into bed, a bathtub, or wheelchair. The motor rides on a track that is attached to the ceiling and can transport a person from one room to another. Ceiling lifts can be used in one room or completely customized to move the user anywhere in the home.
Electric Bath Lift
Getting in and out of a bathtub can be dangerous. Enter the electric bath lift, an ingenious device that lowers and raises a person into the bathtub. The electric bath lift is battery-operated so there is no concern of electrocution. It comes with a padded seat for comfort and is operated by a hand-held remote control. The patient can easily use a transfer board to move from a wheelchair to the bath lift in its raised position. Once seated in position, it is lowered into the water using the remote control. The backrest provides additional support and comfort while bathing. When finished, the unit is raised to the top position where it rests horizontally for easy transfer out of the tub.
Floor to Ceiling Support Pole
The day begins and ends in the bedroom so transferring in and out of bed is important. Transfer boards help, but one of the most effective products on the market for people with only slight mobility problems is the floor-to-ceiling pole, or Super Pole. The 8-foot tall pole can actually be used in any room in the house but is commonly positioned next to the bed. It installs easily without drilling, is very sturdy, and can be moved to
other rooms in the house if needed. Additional accessories can be purchased which attach directly to the unit: a horizontal bar that swivels and locks into place and offers the support needed for moving around the bed, a trapeze bar, bedside tray, and a T-bar. For ceilings higher than 8-feet tall, a 12-inch extension is available.
Portable Light Weight Patient Lift
Taking its cue from the overhead ceiling lift, the portable patient lift is a very sturdy, lightweight lift unit made of aircraft aluminum. It is battery-operated and can be almost effortlessly rolled into position to carry a person from one room to another. This lift can pick a person up from the floor or transfer them into a wheelchair, bed, or bath. A variety of slings are available for patient comfort. The real beauty of this lift is that it folds down completely and can be transported in a in a car trunk or an airplane. It can be used by a caregiver or self-operated by the user to lift themselves off the floor. A fiberglass travel case can be purchased for an extra fee.
Another innovative product is the pool lift which is battery-powered and used in residential, commercial, recreational, and hospital rehab environments. It is either permanently affixed to the ground or a more portable unit can be purchased. The pool lift safely raises and lowers a patient in and out of a swimming pool or whirlpool spa. The waterproof hand control can be operated by the user or attendant/caregiver. This product promotes a regular exercise or rehab regimen that greatly increases a healthful lifestyle.
Another important product for patient transfers is a Gait Belt, which makes transferring easier and safer for both the patient and the caregiver.
We’ve come a long way from the early days of the wooden transfer board. The need for empowering people with disabilities to move from one place to another has been fulfilled with a variety of lifting and transferring products that promote safety and ease of use. These products represent a small portion of what’s available to make the daily lives of users and caregivers safer and more productive.
Links to Products Discussed in This Article
- Beasy Board – Sliding Transfer Board
- Overhead Ceiling Lift
- Electric Bath Lift
- Floor to Ceiling Support Pole
- Portable Light Weight Patient Lift
- Pool Lifts
For more information about ADA Transfer Products and making your home more accessible contact:
Accessible Design & Consulting