First hand experience from a recent trip to a hotel without ceiling hoist facilities.

Mobile Hoist Saga

I was recently invited to speak at a conference and had to stay in Scotland in a city where there are no hotels with ceiling track hoists (not difficult as there is only one – London). The organisation inviting me arranged the accommodation and hired a mobile hoist for me. However, I normally go away to London with one PA, but with a mobile hoist two PAs are needed, with additional costs in travel, accommodation, and food, not to mention wages.

Perils of a mobile hoistThe hire company was keen to have confirmation that my “carers” had been trained to use the hoist but made no mention of the clearance needed under the bed. I fortunately rang the organisers to get the situation checked and the hotel Duty Manager agreed to sort out what to do when I arrived, but I was not made aware of this.Perils of a mobile hoist

When, after train delays, we eventually arrived after 9.30 pm, tired and unfed, I was distressed to realise that not only had the hoist been put in a double room (I had specifically asked for a twin so one PA could sleep with me) but there was no under-bed clearance. The Duty Manager (not the one who had made the previous arrangement) agreed that we could move to a twin accessible room which was smaller, and while we went down to the bar the bed was put up on 4 beer crates.Perils of a mobile hoist

This worked OK until in the morning one was pushed out of position when manoeuvring to get me out of the bed, but fortunately I was not returning to bed again. Manoeuvring space was very limited indeed. In order to get into the bathroom, I had to be manoeuvred first over a small but difficult threshold and then over the basin, and while being lowered on to the loo the hoist got caught on a shelf despite the best efforts of both PAs.Perils of a mobile hoist

The hoist worked OK, but because I need to be the one in control of my up and down movement, and hoists are designed for “carer” use, the control plug worked loose, and for a while I was stranded in the air until my engineering skills diagnosed the fault!

All this reinforced for me the problems of a mobile hoist, and the benefits of ceiling track installations.

Sept 2007