A morbidly obese 62-year-old male patient displayed all the typical indicators of requiring professional care, yet adamantly refused to leave the comfort of his own home. Consequently, he experienced issues with personal hygiene and struggled to regain his footing after falls. There were days when he would reach out to Big Lake EMS multiple times for assistance with lifting. “We have some pretty strong guys that work here, but that doesn’t do a whole lot for you when you’re lifting 500lbs of flesh and bones with no handles to grab,” according to the Big Lake EMS Paramedic Mason Matthews.
This situation prompted the department to acquire Binder Lifts. During the following three months, this specific patient requested lift assistance more than 30 times. In response to each call two to four medics would respond depending on the availability of the crew. Remarkably, despite lift assists being a highly injury-prone activity in EMS, no injuries occurred during this period. The Binder Lift's handles allowed the medics to lift collectively, utilizing the strength in their legs rather than their backs.
The Binder Lift Difference
In line with standard practice across most departments in the United States, Big Lake EMS had previously relied on the traditional method of using sheets to lift patients. By positioning the sheets under the patient, they would then use their own back as a pivot point to assist in getting the patient up. However, in this specific case, the patient faced significant difficulty in standing independently, even with the aid of a walker.
According to Matthews, “When using sheets to stand him up we had to hope that he would be able to support himself with his own power. But with the Binder Lift, we can bring him to the standing position and hold him in that position without him feeling like he needs to support all of his own weight.” The use of improvised lifting techniques often puts both the rescuer and the patient at a significant risk of injury. However, with the introduction of the Binder Lift, the task of lifting the patient became much easier for the four firefighters involved. This is due to the numerous handles that the Binder Lift offers, allowing for a safer and more efficient lifting process.