Residents’ Top 5 Complaints About Nursing Homes: #3

Posted by Dr. El - August 24, 2010 - Communication - 11 Comments
Complaint #3: The Patient Lift

The patient lift is a machine used to transfer a resident from their bed to their wheelchair and back. No resident I’ve met likes using one, and I suspect the reason is the combination of loss of control, the frightening feeling of being suspended, helpless, in midair, and a lack of training which makes the procedure more alarming and uncomfortable than it needs to be.

When I was in grad school, all psychologists-in-training were required to undergo psychotherapy. Similarly, aides could gain perspective from a ride in the lift as part of their orientation or ongoing training. (I’d like to do this and blog about it, so if there’s a home in the New York Metro area willing to let me, please contact me.)
A professional approach by staff members with a focus on increasing confidence in the transfer procedure can reassure anxious residents. Techniques that reduce anxiety include:
  • letting residents know what’s about to occur at each step of the process
  • engaging in a dialogue with residents so they know the focus is on them
  • listening to feedback about how they’re feeling (frightened, uncomfortable, etc) and responding to their concerns
What techniques do you use to make this procedure more pleasant?