“If you’re sweating you’re working too hard.”
This is what I tell a lot of caregivers I do training with. A lot of caregivers report that they struggle when they’re trying to get their loved one or the patient out of a wheelchair or off the commode we’re out of any seated position. There are basically four reasons that why this may be happening. And if you keep these things in mind it will make the job of caregiving a lot easier.
1. Not working as a team.
It goes without saying that when two people are trying to accomplish something they get a lot farther when they work together. This is just as important in the job of caregiving. Both people need to be on the same page when they’re trying to do something.
Are you telling your loved one or your patient what you need them to do when you are trying to transfer them? Are you working together? Or are you going in opposite directions? Make sure that you’re trying to work together when you’re trying to perform a transfer or get someone out of a seated position. It will make doing so a lot easier.
If you’re not working together you’re working too hard.
2. Incorrect positioning.
Simply from a mechanical standpoint we as humans need to be in a specific position in order to stand up from a sitting position. Did you know that it was impossible to stand up unless you’re shoulders are over your knees and your feet positioned slightly behind your knees? Well maybe not impossible but a whole lot easier if you were in this position.
A young strapping gymnast has to be in this position in order to stand up easily and efficiently without much effort. If this is required for a young strapping gymnast how much more important is it for a elderly patient who may have physical limitations?
If your patient isn’t in the right position you will be working too hard.
3.The caregiver needs to be going in the right direction.
A common practice for caregivers is to grab a loved one or a patient under their shoulder through their armpit and attempt to lift them straight out of the chair. This can cause any number of injuries and is pretty uncomfortable for the patient. Especially if they’re frail or have chronic pain.
Remember we are humans and not rocket ships. When we are standing up we do not go straight up. Our direction is forward and up. When a human being stands up from a chair they do not go straight up into the air. They make an arcing motion forward and upward.
We want to continue with the idea that the patient has to be in the right position with the shoulders above the knees. From here the caregiver want to help the patient move further forward and then upward. This type of motion is totally different from what is commonly done. But it brings the body over the seat which are the base of support and lets the patient balance on their feet before trying to come to an upright position.
If you’re not helping your patient or loved one move in the right direction you’re working too hard.
4.The patient needs to push in the right direction.
While this is the last point it’s certainly not the least point. That’s because many caregivers get the wrong idea that their loved one or patient is actually resisting them when they’re trying to stand them up. They’re not resisting you they just happened to be pushing or moving in the wrong direction against you.
There are a couple of things that are going on with the patient or loved one when they’re trying to stand up. For one thing they are actually afraid of falling forward on to their face and so unconsciously they push backwards were they lean backwards. This makes it more difficult to stand them up when we’re trying to get their shoulders over there nice they are pushing backwards.
Now, at the same time they’re pushing back they’re actually trying to stand up. However they don’t realize that when they’re pushing with their legs there pushing to the rear and not forward.
The combination of these two errors on the part of the patient makes it very difficult for a caregiver to help stand a person up from a chair or off of the bed, or, off the toilet. Because when the caregiver is trying to bring them up and forward the patient is trying to push back and upward.
If your loved one or patient is pushing backwards while trying to stand, you’re working too hard.
So what’s the solution?
It goes back to the first point that I made. You have to tell your loved one or the patient exactly what you want them to do so that you’re working as a team. If you need them to bend forward ask them to bend forward or put their shoulders over there knees.
If you need them to push forward versus pushing backwards then ask him to push forward in order to bring the shoulders further over their knees. That way you both will be on the same page and it will not be such a struggle trying to get a person to stand up from a chair or from a sitting position.
Having patience on both parts is extremely important when both of you are trying to learn how to work together to perform a specific task like this. It should be practiced several times a day. Not just in times of necessity like when you’re going to the toilet or need to get up for an emergency. Take some time and practice together when you both can look at the technique and the specifics of it objectively.
Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.