Mechanical Lift Technology: The Parent Experience of Caring for an Adult Child With a Physical Disability
thesisposted on 31.10.2017, 00:00 by Lori Jo Peculis
This research aimed to understand the impact of transfer lift technology on the experience of parents caring for their adult children with a disability. Seven parent caregivers between the ages of 53-69 participated in individual interviews. For aging parent caregivers, the physical effort of daily lifting responsibilities places them at risk for back pain, fatigue and other health problems. To ease the physical load, transfer lifts are frequently recommended. Transfer lift devices function to lift individuals up mechanically from one surface, transport them to another location and safely lower them onto the new surface. A mixed methods approach was utilized for this research, including a quantitative survey, the Caregiver Assistive Technology Outcome Measure, and open-ended interview questions. Both approaches were employed to gain insight into changes in the parent participant’s experience as caregiver since acquiring a transfer lift. Comparison of data revealed shared findings that showed transfer lift technology positively impacts the experience of middle and old age parent caregivers. Findings confirmed that transfer lifts are consistently utilized in the home by the parent participants and/or by other caregivers to transfer the adult child with a disability. The study also provided insight into emotional and physical stress that parent participants reported in relation to transferring adult children with disability. Since acquiring a transfer lift in the home, parent participants reported significantly reduced levels of worry over safety for their child and themselves and decreased physical strain. The major advantages of having a transfer lift in the home were identified as the decreased level of emotionalstress and physical lifting load. Due to this reduced physical load and increased level of safety, parent participants benefit from having a wider group of caregivers available to care for the adult child. Findings also revealed challenges of using transfer lift technology. These include difficulty managing the sling before and after transfers and an increased amount of time required when using the lift. The results of this study lead to meaningful considerations for clinicians to share with individuals with disabilities and their caregivers who are considering transfer lift technology.