How to Buy Stand Assist Lift
Quick tips for customers buying a Stand Assist Lift for the first time. There is a lot to read on this page, but if you are new to this equipment it may be of help. There may be things to consider before buying a Stand Assist Lift that you didn't think about or overlooked. Maybe you're in the market for a Stand Assist Type Lift, but don't know where to start.
What is a Sit-to-Stand device?
Sit-to-stand devices are used to transfer patients/residents between two seated postures (e.g., seated on the edge of the bed to a wheelchair, or wheelchair to commode or shower cabinet). A sit-to-stand device is designed to support only the upper body of the resident and therefore requires the resident to be able to bear some weight. This is different than a total body lift (also called a Hoyer Lift, because Hoyer was one of the first companies to make them) that's meant to support the entire weight of the resident/patient. A sit-to-stand device is meant to replace the manual stand-and-pivot transfer that’s performed frequently by caregivers when transferring a weight-bearing resident/patient from a seated posture to a standing posture or different seated surface.
Some of the most critical features to consider before purchasing a Sit-to-Stand device:
There are many features that may need to be considered before purchasing, some may be more important depending on your home's or facility’s unique needs. For instance, you may prefer a sit-to-stand device with a sling made out of a particular material or a sit-to-stand that comes with a battery that can be recharged with an off-board charger. A list and description of these features is provided below:
- Price – Expect to pay somewhere between $2000 and $3500 for a new sit-to-stand device. Devices with a built-in scale (used to weigh patients/residents) can cost $3000 to $5500. The scale may be an important feature since the resident can be weighed during a regularly scheduled transfer without having to perform an additional transfer just for weighing.
- Weight Capacity – A weight capacity of at least 300 lbs. is recommended to accommodate transferring residents. Most have weight capacities from 330-450 lbs. while Bariatric Lifts can accommodate weights up to 700 lbs.
- Lifting Mechanism – Sit-to-stand devices typically have a hydraulic lifting mechanism that is powered by an electric motor or actuator and battery. The electric motor or actuator is an important feature since it eliminates the need to pump or crank the lift by hand. The motor is controlled by a hand control with buttons for up and down. The electric motor also makes the raising and lowering of the resident a smooth, continuous movement without jerky or rapid accelerations that are common with older hand crank or pump lifts.
- 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 offer it as an option. Those that offer a portable battery as an option use a non-portable system as a standard, which requires the lift to be directly plugged into an outlet to be recharged.
- Hand-Held Control – A hand held control is typically a push button control used to raise or lower the boom. An important feature is 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.
- Emergency Shut-Off Control – This control stops the motor in case of an emergency and is a separate control from the hand-held push button that activates the power. This safety feature serves as a back up to the hand-held control. It could be used in a situation where the resident grabs the hand-held control and the caregiver needs to quickly shut off the power to protect the resident from harm.
- Type of base – All sit-to-stand devices have adjustable bases that allow the legs to fit around chairs, commodes, etc. Power Base means the base legs are spread in and out through the use of the hand control and the electric motor. With a manual base, the legs are spread with a spreader bar that’s moved by hand or a foot control.
- Base length - This is the length of the base from the mast to the end of the legs. This feature may be important when the device is used in tight spaces such as the bath or shower room.
- Base width adjustment range – All the devices have an adjustable base where the legs can be moved in and out to allow the lift to be positioned around chairs, commodes, etc. This measurement is taken from the outside of the legs with the base positioned all the way in (closed) and the spreader all the way out (open).
- Height of base legs – This height may be important if the sit-to-stand needs to be positioned under a very low bed or stretcher. This measurement was taken with the corresponding caster diameter and the caster fork.
- Lift range – This is the vertical distance the device moves the resident from a seated to a standing posture. All sit-to-stand devices are capable of transferring a patient sitting on a bed or chair to standing or near full standing posture.
- Number of different sized slings – Most of the manufacturers only several sizes of slings which should fit practically all residents.
- Sling attachments - Most slings use a simple loop as an attachment point from the sling to the boom. The sling loop attaches around a J or C shaped hook on the boom.
- Sling material – A variety of materials are used, including mesh and padded fabric to help protect the resident from skin abrasions around the arms and axilla. Most of the padded slings have foam inserts in the back portion of the sling to help provide additional padding against the resident’s back.
- Sling laundering - Depending on the material, the sling may have certain laundering restrictions. For those nursing homes or other facilities that send their slings to a laundry service this may be an important consideration.
- Diameter of casters - The diameter of the casters are measured because in general, larger casters require less force to push/pull and maneuver. Devices may have single or dual wheels. Although the larger diameter casters are easier to push, they may also restrict access under low beds.
- Brakes - Brakes are used to lock the rear wheels in place during certain transfer situations. However, in most cases brakes are left unlocked during transfers so that the lift may self-adjust to center-of-gravity as the patient is lifted or seated.
- Battery life - The number of transfers per charge is highly dependent on the weight of the resident transferred and if a powered base is used (powered bases require additional battery power to adjust the legs in and out). Therefore, the number of transfers per charge is very approximate. The total life of the battery also depends on usage and varies from nine months to seven years. Batteries that are stored should be charged once a week.
- Low battery indicator - All battery powered sit-to-stand lifts are equipped with a low battery indicator, although the amount of charge left in the battery when the indicator comes on varies. In general, the devices have either a lighted indicator or audible warning or both. Most lifts recognize a low battery situation and will not allow lifting until charged.
Can a sit-to-stand device be used with any resident/patient?
No. A sit-to-stand device should only be used with residents/patients that can bear some body weight. Depending on how much weight bearing capacity the resident has, the sit-to-stand device can raise the resident just high enough for short distance transfers such as bed to wheelchair or wheelchair to commode, or to a fully standing posture for longer distance transfers. Use of a sit-stand device also requires the patient/resident to be able to sit up on the edge of the bed with or without assistance, and to be able to bend their hips, knees, and ankles.
For those residents that can bear some body weight, a sit-to-stand device can also be a helpful rehabilitation tool. It can be used to promote increased weight bearing by controlling the resident's position. The closer the resident is to upright, the more weight their lower extremities will be bearing.