5 considerations when selecting a sit-to-stand lift for patient transfers

Standing and raising aids, also known as sit-to-stand devices, are used by caregivers to transfer patients or residents between two seated postures, e.g. seated on the edge of a bed to a wheelchair, or wheelchair to commode or a shower chair.

A_12-06-20174663.jpgA standing and raising aid is an active patient lift designed to support only the upper body of the patient and will therefore require the patient to bear some weight. As caregivers can often perform a sit-to-stand transfer multiple times in a day, standing and raising aids are an essential part of daily life to help relieve the stresses of weight bearing routines on caregivers whilst providing a comfortable, safe transfer for patients.

The benefits of standing and raising aids

Manual transfer of a patient is physically demanding and can cause risk of injury to a caregiver.¹ Standing and raising aids provide a safer alternative to manual transfers performed by caregivers. Patients and residents also benefit from these devices with less risk for patient falls compared with manual transfers. Standing and raising aids also promote mobility in patients who can contribute to the action or perform part of the action independently.²

How to choose a standing and raising aid

When choosing a sit-to-stand device, ease of use along with ease of manoeuvrability are important elements to consider, but what else must we keep in mind?

1. Powered or non-powered lift mechanism

Depending on the level of patient mobility, there are two types of sit-to-stand transfer devices available. For patients/residents who can stand unaided, a non-powered device should be used. However, for a patient or a resident who does not have the ability to stand but is able to partially bear weight on at least one leg, then a powered lift is used.

Powered standing and raising aids typically have an electric lifting mechanism that is powered by a battery. The powered lift is operated by a hand control with buttons for up and down. The lift is designed to make the raising and lowering of the patient or the resident a smooth, continuous movement.

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2. Weight capacity or safe working load (SWL)

Weight capacity is an important factor when choosing an appropriate device as patients/residents in your facility may vary considerably. If your facility sees more plus-sized patients, then a device with a higher safe working load should be considered.

3. Battery portability 

Battery portability is a feature that allows a dead battery to be quickly exchanged with a fully charged battery. Some manufacturers use a portable battery system as a standard, whereas others may offer it as an option. Any sit-to-stand devices that don't use a portable battery system will require the lift to be plugged into an outlet to be recharged.

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4. Hand-held control

A hand-held control is typically a push button control used to raise or lower the lifting arm. An important feature includes the ability to quickly place the control on the sit-to-stand device during the transfer process. This will free up the caregiver’s hands to assist or position the resident. Using both a fixed control panel along with a hand-held control allows for greater manoeuvrability when transferring a patient. Some sit-to-stand devices may also be available with integrated digital weigh scale to assist with patient monitoring. 

5. Service and maintenance 

Service contracts that offer a range of flexible service, maintenance and inspections to optimise the performance of your medical equipment and help meet compliance standards are essential considerations when choosing between manufacturers. 

Ready to choose? 

An evaluation of 6 different sit to stand devices for use in rehabilitation shows an 'overwhelming preference' for the Sara® Flex knee support during a study in Loughborough University, UK.

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Fray M et al. (2018) An evaluation of sit to stand devices for use in rehabilitation (whitepaper)

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References:

1. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, in cooperation with participating state agencies, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh2.pdf

2. M. Fray et al, An evaluation of sit to stand devices for use in rehabilitation. Loughborough University, UK 2017