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Nurses and Med workers -- how do you pick up a person?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BaileyCatts, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    I know a lot of nurses and medical people live on this board, so maybe you can help with this. I am living with my mom and taking care of her. She is 82, had a broken hip (06) so trouble walking, and bad knees that she can barely bend. She is also a heavyset woman (about 5.5; 210). The other night she fell asleep sitting at the table and basically slumped over and fell on the floor. Thankfully she did not hurt herself. But then we had the problem of getting her up!

    She cannot just roll over like you or I would if we fell, get on her knees and stand up, because she can't bend her legs like that. I tried lifting her from behind and front, but couldn't even budge her. How do you med workers manage to move elderly people around and pick them up when they fall, need help getting up, etc.? Is there some trick to lifting a person properly when the person can't help you lift themselves? Reason I ask this is because about a year ago, we went to a tribute dinner for my dad, and my mom had trouble getting up from the chair because it had no arms for her to leverage on. A woman at our table (a nurse) came over to her, stood in front of her and just pulled her right up with no effort! And this woman was tiny and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. I don't know how she lifted my mom so easily, so was wondering if there was some trick to being taught how to lift a person?
  2. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

  3. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    The difference that I read in your scenarios is the distance off the floor. At the dinner where your mom was sitting, so the nurse was able to plant herself placing her feet at a distance that would support her lifting - generally the width of the person and/or chair, bend so that her knees were doing a bit of the work and not just pulling from the back muscles. I imagine your mom was instructed to either place her hands/arms on the nurses' waist or shoulders to use as you would use the arms of the chair and together they did a count of ready, 1, 2, 3 go. Your mom using her arm strength and the nurse using her knee/back strength together.

    When someone falls to the floor you lack any of those forces to help you. You might call your local community college to find out if there are any back safety courses for care providers to assist you in determining the best methods of lifting your mom. Or if there is an orthopedic hospital or clinic in your area, they may offer patient education classes on proper lifting techniques. It also sounds like you need someone to come in and do a safety assessment on the house to help your parents determine where safety hazards exist and what to do to fix them or avoid them
  4. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Just curious bc, but how did you manage to get your mother up from the floor?

    I do lifting all the time for my son, and there's a big difference between lifting from a seated position, and lifting from the floor. From a seated position, you do what numbers described. From the floor, well, I can do it, but my son weighs a lot less and I have very flexible knees and ankles. Generally the care workers I know who do that kind of lifting will have two people lift--one from behind putting their arms around the shoulders, and the other putting their arms around the knees and lifting. I don't usually see that kind of lift attempted by a single care worker.
  5. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member


    Rule number 1 is know your limitations. Nurses are notorious for throwing out their backs and injuring themselves on improper/unsafe lifting and transferring techniques. Under no circumstances would I advise that you lift your mom up off the floor in the scenario as described above. You could seriously injure yourself. If you absolutely cannot lift her, then I would advice you to call 911 or your local emergency personnel to assist you to lift her back into her chair and/or bed. ITA with numbers that your best bet would be to take a class regarding safe patient handling and lifting techniques and have your home assessed. There are things you can use at home that can make caring for your mom a lot easier. Grab bars in the bathroom, living room and bedroom, transfer poles etc.

    You can also use things like gait belts that make transferring of patients from bed to a chair and vice versa a lot easier and can run you around $10. The conditions for use of these things have to be right however, and for that I think you need home health training.

    Is there a local agency nearby that can help you in that area?
  6. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    Agree on the belt or vest. That's what we had for my uncle. It made it relatively easy to get him to a seated position from which he was able to assist.
  7. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    Definitely gait belts need some training to use properly and not put yourself at risk for back or other injuries.

    I would also look at the reason your mom fell asleep at the table and fell off the chair. Is she taking medications that put her at risk for falling asleep too easily, is she not sleeping well because of obstructive apnea due to her weight issues, experiencing other medical conditions, or sitting too long where she shouldn't have been. Maybe purchasing an elevating recliner where she eats meals or watches tv at. That way she is in a secure/armed structure and has the ability to put herself in an upright position to get in and out of her sitting position by herself - no lifting on your part.

    I do hope that you have grab bars installed in the bathroom - near the toilet and in the tub/shower. Major areas of falls in older people or people with decreased mobility.
  8. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    I've wondered about that too with my mother. When my father slid to the floor it was hopeless because he weighed so much. I had to call 911. Thankfully this rarely happened and it has happened twice with Mom (Dad passed away 2 yrs ago.) Though she is much lighter I still must have help to get her up from the floor. Her knees and back are in terrible shape and I don't want to make her worse.
  9. nursebetty

    nursebetty New Member

    Your mom was probably able to get her feet under her from the chair and on the floor she can offer no assistance. Good-luck. At least if you call 911, they can check her out to be sure she is ok. I would think about that life alert necklace, in case no one is around she can call for help.
  10. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    BaileyCatts -- If your mom is covered by Medicare, the doctor can order home PT/OT visits, and the PT can train you (and your mom) and anyone else who needs to help her on the safest way to do that.

    But...with her being 210 pounds, you need to be careful that you don't hurt yourself trying to get her off the ground.

    My MIL's aide has had to call 911 a couple of times when MIL fell to the ground, as she's unable to help herself much when getting up. The paramedics help her up, and check her out -- most of the time she just goes back to bed, but once they transported her to the hospital because of extremely low b.p.
  11. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    At my workplace we are not allowed to lift anyone who has fallen. We call 911 and the EMTs get the clients up but they are only taken to the hospital if the client chooses. To lift someone that heavy by yourself poses serious risk to your own health, especially your back. Do not attempt by yourself.
  12. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    BaileyCatts--does your mom have diabetes? Just wondering, as the falling asleep/slumping sounds very much like some (very scary!) hypoglycemic episodes my MIL has had.

    Definitely contact the local Council on Aging--most cities or counties will have one. They can point you in the right direction for help, assessments, what Medicare/Medicaid covers, etc.
  13. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the helpful info! I was already looking into some kind of training sessions they have for people taking care of parents. She is pretty self sufficient (i.e., stubborn!), just can't really live in this house much longer due to 2-story and she can't go in the basement to do laundry, stand too long to cook or do dishes, etc. We are in the process of trying to get her house cleaned out and on the market, and she will move to mine eventually.

    As to how she got up .... think of a typical 2-story house with living/dining room and staircase upstairs. She scooted herself over to the stairs (it was close)) and then pulled herself up to a seated position on the steps, then we got her up from there. :eek: That makes total sense now about how lifting from a seated versus floor position. :eek: She told me she has done that before (back when my dad was still alive and I was not living here) when she was cleaning and ended up sitting on the floor. She really did not fall that far from the chair and the chair did not even tip over. Sit in a kitchen chair and kind of slump like you are sleeping leaning to the side versus front ... that's what happened. The floor is very well carpeted so was well padded. Basically, she did end up sitting too long at the table after eating, and didn't realize she was falling asleep. That has not happened before since I have been here.

    Also someone asked if she has diabetes? Yes, she does. Takes lots of meds, so it is easy for her to fall alseep. She could be awake watching her shows and then not even make it two minutes in before falling alseep. She usually never sits that long at the table since she knows she will doze off, so moves to the couch. Just fell asleep too quickly. We are looking at those recliners that lift you up too.

    Bathrooms are well suited with grab bars in the shower with a built-in seat and by toilets. This is really the first time anything has happened since I have been here and even she said she has never done that before (fall asleep at table) because she always makes sure to not sit there too long after eating.