When a loved one falls or has trouble rising from bed or a chair, we will of course want to help them. One of the essential talents of a caregiver is to safely move a loved one from surface to another. There are numerous types of transfers, with varying degrees of difficulty depending on aptitude and circumstances.
Effective patient lift requires great attention to body mechanics, potential dangers of improper execution, and awareness. Place your loved one as close as possible to the transfer area and ensure there is sufficient room and clear path for movement. Ensure the transported individual is wearing appropriate footwear, if applicable. Ensure that there is proper illumination and the area is free of any slip or trip hazards. Always make sure to lift from the torso, hips, or thighs. Never raise a person using their arms or from under their armpits.
Give precise instructions before and through the transfer. Consider any challenges your loved one may have, for example, dementia may prevent them from understanding verbal instructions fully and they may need a simple demonstration first.
Position your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and spread your bodyweight evenly between them. Keep your elbows tight to your body to avoid overreaching, and stabilize your core by bending your knees slightly and tightening your abdominal muscles.
If your family member can assist you, encourage them to push up from the surface as they stand or you lift them. It will lighten their weight for you, as well as give them some measure of control over their move, which can reduce their anxiety.