The Easy Pivot Disk
This device was recommended to us by a fellow ALSer and was a fundamental part of our daily lives.
This piece of equipment allowed us to be independent, travel, keep our dignity and some privacy because it allowed me to be the sole caregiver for Tracy on a daily basis.
With this disk I was able to get Tracy out of bed, in his chair, to the bathroom, in and out of the shower, in and out of the pool, to the doctors, on a cruise ship and in and out of the hospital when 98% of the people around me told me it was impossible.
Now here's the secret to using it.
The trick is to not use your strength. It's about leverage.
Quite honestly this video isn't the best but it does give you a good idea of how it works and it IS very easy to use basically.
I saw people constantly trying to PICK UP their loved one which led them to having to TOSS them into their chair or on the bed because of lack of balance and lack of strength.
This is where so many injuries happen for both caregiver and ALSer.
When they can help you~
If your PAL has some strength in their legs but can't move their feet well, you can start by placing your foot between their feet on the disk. I squat to their level and ask for a hug (meaning they lean towards me). The natural hug position has a nice Pavlov reaction and the person generally naturally turns their head to lay on your shoulder. Their chest comes to yours so the weight is moved to YOUR core, not your back as when you are reaching (which is when problems arise). Once you pull their hips over their ankles, if they have any strength they can either stand or you can pivot as is and there is less distance to move them to sit. The advantage to this position is that you have the power to TWIST the disk with the foot that is ON it and because of the weight you know it's not going to slide anywhere.
About the gait belt that you should use with every lift..... Imagine a guilty sheepish look on my face....
Do as I say- not as I do.... sooo.....I'd love to come up with a really good sound reason why we didn't use the gait belt but....mmmm....the truth is Tracy didn't like it, it was uncomfortable, I was lazy, it wasn't convenient or handy....no good reason.
I looped my elbows under his armpits and grabbed his shirt mostly. Later on I hugged him tight to me and grabbed my own arms.
You should wear a back brace as often as is practical or comfortable as well. They really do help.
If you go down...your PAL does too.
When you do all the work~
The trick to getting someone who has no strength left in their legs up on their feet to turn them on the disk is to lock their knees out with yours.
For this technique the difference is that I placed both my feet outside his ( his feet that are both on the disk) with my left foot on the handle of the disk so it didn't slide and my knees against his knees. This allows you to lock out the knees as you stand. Again I would squat and hug him to me and ask him for a dance. (The dance refers to the small rocking steps to create the turn). His head would lay on my shoulder, being careful to not strain his neck. It became uncomfortable for Tracy to turn his head too far sometimes so his chin would rest on my shoulder on those days. Just be careful not to choke them or stretch the neck too far.
I like to use several small steps instead of just a big swing turn so I always felt I had control over his weight. It's about balance. As their weight goes back to the chair your weight counter balances by squatting and sticking your hind end out. You don't want to have the feeling of toppling on top of them as they sit. Use your Legs not your back.
It's incredible to me that NO ONE in the medical field has any interest in using this disk to transfer people. Not the hospitals, doctors offices or clinics. When I insisted I could move my husband at the ALS clinic (especially when I saw how many others were "helped") they seemed truly surprised and nervous that I was confident about moving him on my own. You will hear me criticize a lot of things about our journey but I will admit the people at our clinic really did CARE and were concerned about me moving him or dropping him and they also showed great concern for me and my health.
They did seem impressed at how smoothly it all went when I moved him safely and quickly. Impressed or not no one ever followed thru with getting one for clinic that I know of. (Yes, Tracy. I hear ya, preposition at the end of the sentence....)
I was irritatingly vocal (according to Tracy) about the fact THEY SHOULD have some. The nodded and smiled and never did get any, nor did the ER we visited way too many times.
WHY??? You would think the insurance companies would PAY to have every nursing home and hospital have them just to save on lawsuits from people being dropped or mishandled.
The way they tossed Tracy around in the ER was criminal and I threatened more than one of them if they dared to think about moving him after seeing their complete lack of knowledge or caring.
(Even the really really big guys recognized THAT look of a person pushed to the edge and they believed me and rarely challenged me after that. I highly recommend you use your determination to protect your loved ones if you get the sense staff is in any way incompetent. I found that happened shockingly often).
If you read this and do have an actual understanding of how the system works and why they are not open to recommending this disk I really do want to hear your opinions.
It must have to do with how bids for insurance coverage go. How do they decide what is covered and what is not and by which companies?
I would have loved to have this Disk presented as an equipment option FIRST before they talked about Hoyer Lifts, wheelchairs and breathing machines. How do we make that happen?