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Mind the gap: Privacy for patient lifts

Patient lifts are an essential tool in nursing care, enabling healthcare professionals to safely lift and move patients with mobility restrictions without causing injury to themselves or the patient.

Patients may need to be lifted for a variety of reasons including transferring to a gurney for transportation to the operating room or for diagnostics, lifting from the bed to a bedside chair or wheelchair, or for hygiene reasons including washing and bedding changes.  

While patient lifts facilitate the safe and comfortable lifting of patients for whatever reason, they present some privacy challenges.  Being lifted using a mechanical aid – whether it’s a ceiling-mounted X-Y gantry or a portable floor standing lift – is quite an invasive experience for the patient and requires that their dignity be preserved at all times.  

Unfortunately, many conventional patient privacy systems are not designed to accommodate the size and range of motion required by these commonly used patient lifting systems.  Ceiling mounted lifts mean it’s almost impossible to have 360-degree curtain track around the bed, which leaves gaps when the lift is in operation and can even cause damage to the curtain or track over time.  The sheer bulk of floor-mounted lifts means that gaps are common here too, leaving staff to fashion makeshift solutions with clothes pins, sheets and portable screens. 

So what’s the answer?  Say hello to InstaGap and CleanScreen!

InstaGap is a custom-made solution to the problem of the ‘gaps’ that are required for the functionality of X-Y ceiling gantries and is designed to be used in conjunction with our InstaSwap curtain system.

How does InstaGap work?

In order to accommodate an X-Y patient lift mounted on the ceiling, you need either a very large patient bay (impossible in most modern hospital environments) or a break in your curtain track through which the lift mechanism can pass.  In the latter case, this creates a gap that can lead to patient privacy being compromised, particularly when the lift is in use.  InstaGap is a custom-made panel that’s compatible with the snap fasteners on our InstaSwap curtains.  InstaSwap can be fitted to the curtain track on either side of the lift gantry, leaving one or two snap fasteners on each side not attached to the upper mesh.  An InstaGap panel can then be snapped on to bridge the gap between the two curtains, without the need for the top mesh.  The result is less damage to curtains, and more privacy for both staff and patients during these vulnerable moments.  InstaGap is available in 18 inch widths and can be matched to any existing InstaSwap curtain panel.

What about CleanScreen?

CleanScreen is another clever patient privacy solution that lends itself perfectly to the privacy challenges created by using patient lifts.  CleanScreen is available in both wall mounted and portable iterations, so it’s really versatile and can be used as a principal privacy solution, or to supplement your existing curtains as required.  CleanScreen is particularly useful when working with floor-standing portable patient lifts because it can be positioned just about anywhere, and because it’s one of the tallest privacy screens on the market – patient privacy is preserved even when the lift is at its highest point, which makes it ideal for those bed-to-bed or bed-to-chair transfers that make it impossible to keep patient curtains fully closed.  You can also wheel a portable CleanScreen into position to help close the gap when using an X-Y lift, and then simply wheel it away again when it isn’t needed.

Patient privacy shouldn’t be a secondary consideration – it’s a basic human right and with the available solutions, there’s no reason to compromise.  Contact Belroc today to discuss how we can help you overcome these and other gaps in your patient privacy strategy.