Ask CCRM: Effects of Carpeting on Lift Use

April 17, 2012 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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A Continuing Care Risk Management (CCRM) member recently asked whether carpeting affects the use of resident lifts, particularly in terms of the safety of staff members who move and operate the lifts.

ECRI Institute has evaluated mobile patient lifts several times. Although ECRI Institute has not specifically tested lifts on carpeted floors, our engineers and analysts have a good appreciation for how these devices perform on various surfaces. Staff roll mobile patient lifts both when the lifts are unweighted and when they are carrying residents. Moving an unweighted lift does not usually present much resistance; typically, they can be easily moved, except over large thresholds or common floor obstacles (e.g., power cords). Although vendors of mobile lifts usually recommend against transporting residents any significant distance using a lift, in practice, staff usually must move residents at least limited distances when they transfer residents from beds or chairs or even the floor. When the lift is bearing a resident’s weight, far greater force is needed to move the mobile lift. Any resistance to rolling makes the situation worse. Beyond just the effort required to move the mobile lift, higher rolling resistance and floor obstacles can raise the risk...

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