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New ceiling lifts bring improved safety for patients, nurses

New patient lift systems to make it easier and safer to reposition patients or to move patients who are unable to walk are being installed at Upstate’s Community Hospital and its Downtown Campus

Community Hospital completed the installation of 41 of 55 lifts, with the remainder of the lifts to be installed by mid-January and 107 new lifts are set to be installed at the Downtown Campus early next year. These are the first patient lift systems to be installed at the Community campus.

Colleen Lupia, MSN, RN, falls prevention and safe patient handling manager, said everyone benefits from this new safety addition.

“First and foremost these new lifts make it much safer to move patients, which is an important part of the state’s Safe Patient Handling Law,” Lupia said. “And the lift system also is safer for nurses and other members of the health care team tasked with lifting and moving patients.”

Also called patient handling devices, these are overhead lifts that use a motorized hoist to lift a patient into position while they are secured in a sling. They are installed in the ceiling and feature a track or rail system, by which patients can be moved within the room. The track system employed in these lifts is an XY system, which means the lifts can move forward and backward and side to side.

The lifts are located directly over the patients’ bed, which means they are always available to be used.  Some facilities only have portable lift devices, which often have to be located when needed, causing delays and are more difficult to than using a ceiling lift to move patients.

Lupia noted that nurses and many other classifications of employees undergo significant training on the operation of these lifts.

Many members of the university assisted in making the project come to fruition.

Patient lift systems were installed in Upstate’s East Tower when it opened in 2009.

Caption: Allie Dodge, patient handling assistant, right, and Colleen Lupia, falls prevention and safe patient handling manager, demonstrate the new ceiling lift with Scott Tanner, HCT.