Keeping steady

When Melissa Black started her job as a physical therapist at the Misericordia Community Hospital, she saw an opportunity to improve patient care.

She successfully pitched the idea of testing a lift called Sara Stedy that helps patients pull themselves up from a seated to standing position and vice versa. The results were so positive that a lift was purchased with support from the Associates of Caritas.

For patients like Rosslyn McBride, the new lift provided an immediate benefit.

“For me, it was perfect,” says Rosslyn. “It helped me get up when I was in such terrible pain.”

The lift is used by both physiotherapists and nurses for daily care and patient transfers. It helps patients get stronger by increasing the amount of exercise and rehab they receive daily. For those who are able, it allows them to work on improving their physical strength as they raise or lower themselves.

“As physiotherapists, we have a hierarchy of treatment,” says Melissa. “We work on getting people to sit. If they can sit, then we try to work on their standing. If they’re good at standing, then we’ll try to work on their walking. On the orthopedic unit, a lot of people are having trouble with that initial learning-to-stand phase.” 

Before the Sara Stedy, supervised patients would practise standing at the bedside with walkers or use the parallel bars in the physiotherapy gym.

“If the patient was in bed and they didn't move around very well, trying to co-ordinate getting them out of bed into a wheelchair, and then from the wheelchair to the parallel bars, was really time-consuming,” says Melissa. “By bringing the Sara Stedy directly to the bed, we can do all our treatment with them in their room.”

It’s a positive experience for patients to be able to help raise and lower themselves, says Melissa.

“With this we are able to help them recover faster—which means getting them home.”

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