Patients with difficulty standing up are likely to have difficulty walking, too. A patient transfer (or “patient transport”) device helps the caretaker move the patient from place to place. A transport can be more convenient than a wheelchair for moving from the bed to bathroom or from the house to the car.
A patient transport is a tall frame with a platform that rides on wheels. A caretaker uses it to move a patient who has difficulty walking. It is used instead of a wheelchair as it is normally narrower and easier to mount. The transport keeps the patient vertical, so it can be used for washing and dressing.
One type of transport requires the user to have some strength to pull herself up. You can combine a seat lift with the patient transport to make this easier.
Another type uses a hydraulic motor and sling to do 100% of the lifting.
Who Uses a Transport?
A transport is for patients who cannot walk. It can be easier to mount than a wheelchair, but does require a caretaker to move it about.
Transports are usually narrower than wheelchairs and so it is easier to get them through doorways.
Some ways that people use transports:
- to get from bed to the toilet
- to get from the house to the car
- to get from the car to the doctor’s office
- to prop the patient while washing or dressing
When Should a Transport Be Avoided?
All patient transports have limits on height and weight. The patient must be at least a given height for the device. For example, if the height range is 5 ft. 2 in. at a minimum, then a 5 ft. tall person should not use the device. This is not just a recommendation. Transports offer support at certain points along the body. A person who is too small can bypass the supports and fall.
Each device comes with its own weight capacity which you should doublecheck before deciding which transport to buy.
In the first type of transport, the patient patient must have some ability to lean against a kneepad and chair. This doesn’t take much strength for a healthy person, but for someone who is weak, this should be considered.
In the hydraulic transport, the patient does none of the work.
Help Getting to a Standing Position
A “manual” transport requires that the user pull herself to a standing position. A hydraulic transport or Hoyer lifts the patient using a sling and hydraulic motor. The patient stands on the platform, or leans on a knee and a bum support.
A device such as the Lumex Patient Transport has a grab bar for the patient to hold as she pulls herself up from a sitting position. In the hydraulic device, the patient does not stand, but is carried in the attached sling.
If a patient has difficulty pulling herself up from the chair to the platform, you an add a chair lift to fill in the gap.
Have the patient sit on a chair lift, couch lift, or lift chair to get her about 70% standing without effort. She can then step off from the chair to the transport with much less effort.
How to Get Onto the Transport Platform
If the device is open-ended, the patient can step onto the platform and that’s that.
But if the transport structure surrounds the patient for safety, then there is no obvious opening to step through.
The Lumex uses a split-seat design to allow the patient to pass into the center of the device’s platform. The caretaker separates the seat to create an opening. After the patient is inside the structure, the caretaker puts the seat back into one piece. This allows the patient to be surrounded with structure, making it harder to fall.
Just be aware that it is not a cage, and there are places to fall out. Be aware of the height requirements for the device you buy.
Where Can the Transport Go?
A transport is a platform on caster wheels. It works best on tile and wood floor. It can go over minor bumps such as thresholds, but not steps or stairs.
Transports work on carpets but are harder to pull because carpets drag on the wheels.
If you are using the transport to get from inside to outside of the house, consider getting a slightly declined ramp (such as a wheelchair ramp) to get to a flat surface. You can use the transport on a paved driveway or concrete sidewalk.
The transport is not for use in a shower or tub.
When the Machine Does the Work
While not technically a “standing assistance device,” I wanted you to see the option you have if the patient is too weak to stand even with assistance.
A Hoyer device is a sling-assisted platform. The caretaker puts the sling around the patient’s back. She then wraps it around the patient’s knees and shoulders. The sling can now carry the bulk of the patient’s body, from the shoulders to the knees.
The cartaker places the sling’s shoulder and knee ropes onto the transport lift arm. She can then command the machine to lift the arm, which lifts the sling, along with the patient.
The transport is now a platform on wheels that carries the patient to the toilet or other destination.
How to Search for a Transport Stand Assist Device
To search for a Transport Assist, you can use any of these phrases:
- Transport Stand Assist
- Stand Assist Patient Transport
- Hydraulic Stand-Up Lift
- Sit to Stand Lift
- Hoyer Device
- Hoyer Lift
- Hydraulic Patient Lift
Be Prepared for Some Assembly
Some patient transports come disassembled. If you are not prepared for this fact, you might get discouraged when you see the contents of the box.
The Lumex, for example, requires minor assembly. It’s not much for someone who is not disabled, so possibly the caregiver will find it easy to do.
If you do not think you’ll be able to assemble the transport, hire a handyman or ask a neighbor to put it together for you. If this is a burden, you can buy or rent a transport from a local medical supply store.