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New Patient Lift System

HaysMed implements new patient lift system

Published on -3/23/2012, 10:08 AM
Hays Daily News
By KALEY CONNER

New technology has been implemented at Hays Medical Center to give patients a lift -- literally.

A new patient lift system designed to help the hospital's most frail patients change positions and move around their hospital rooms went live in November. Using some grant funds, the hospital purchased both motorized overhead lifts and new portable lifts.

The idea is to provide a safer environment for patients and medical staff, said Celeste Gray, director of women and children nursing services.

"Nurses who have been in the field for 20 or 30 years are starting to develop neck issues and back issues, so there are questions now being posed -- is it tied to so many years of moving patients and turning patients?" Gray said.

"So that's really where we thought, 'We need to do something for nurses who are even just starting out who are young and healthy. What are we doing to them that could affect their mobility down the road?' "

Some federal grant dollars from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration were contributed to the project, and additional assistance came from a Hadley Foundation grant. HaysMed covered remaining costs. The total cost was about $800,000, said Ruth Heffel, executive director of the HMC Foundation, which disbursed the Hadley funds.

About 40 overhead lifts were installed in patient rooms on the medical floor. Four lifts are in the rehabilitation department; 12 are in the medical surgical intensive care unit; and there are 10 each in cardiac progressive care and on the surgical floor.

The hospital already is making plans to add more, Gray said.

"Our ultimate goal is to have overhead lifts in all of our rooms," she said.

Portable lift equipment, such as maxi slides, slick sheets used to help patients change position or move from bed to bed, also was purchased for each patient room.

Previously, HaysMed had several mobile lifts nurses could use to assist patients. However, there were times when staff couldn't locate the devices quickly enough or there weren't enough to go around, which sometimes resulted in manual lifting, she said.

"Now we have what we call a 'stop' program -- basically meaning stop, assess the situation, then get the piece of equipment that we need for your patient," Gray said. "So instead of nurses and staff members not having what they need, now they have it at their fingertips."