Kate Sheehan, director of the OT Service, has been an occupational therapist for more than 35 years, but when her elderly mother-in-law fell recently her initial reaction was one of a typical family member. She felt shocked and concerned that the way her mother-in-law had fallen would make it extremely difficult to lift her up safely.
Kate’s mother-in-law is living with dementia and had been very carefully carrying a cup of coffee from lounge to the garden. Unfortunately, she missed seeing a child’s toy in the doorway, tripped over it and fell in a slumped position against the doorframe. The reality is, it’s rare for someone to fall ‘neatly’ and in a position where it’s easy to use rigid lifting equipment.
The family called for an ambulance and after assessing Kate’s mother-in-law the crew announced; “the situation called for a Mangar ELK”.
Kate said, “My mother-in-law is more than 24 stone and had fallen in a tight space, in a slumped and seated position. I could see that moving her somewhere with more space around her was going to be impossible.
“However, the ambulance crew were very quickly able to position the Mangar ELK lifting cushion under her and gradually inflated it at a speed that suited my mother-in-law. As they inflated each section of the ELK, they gave her an opportunity to rest, which decreased her anxiety levels.
“They then simply transferred her onto their trolley, where they could do further observations. To do this, they needed to quickly kick the Mangar ELK out of the way. Because the Mangar ELK is light weight but tough, this was easily done and they could concentrate on their patient, which is always the top priority”.
The Mangar ELK lifting cushion is on every UK ambulance because of its versality, portability and ability to protect both paramedics and patients during a lift. In this situation, the product was deflated and packed away in less than 45 seconds, meaning the ambulance could quickly transfer their patient on to hospital.
Kate Sheehan commented on the incident; ‘The situation made me reflect on my own equipment provision and that we need to look at all the features and benefits and make sure that they are fit foe purpose, in this situation the only piece of equipment that would have worked was the Mangar ELK’.
Kate’s mother in law returned home the next day and is making a good recovery. She was fortunate that the ambulance was dispatched quickly to support her and even though she had fallen in an awkward position, using the Mangar ELK lifting cushion meant the ambulance crew needed to do minimal moving and handling to transfer her safely.