Saturday, 28 January 2017

Stair Lift Accidents Could Be Avoided

Recent news from a Berkshire coroners inquest showed us the case of an unfortunate death involving a stairlift, and highlights what lessons could be learned for consumer buyers of these products and also what could be incorporated into training for the user, by installation companies. 
Senior Coroner for Berkshire Peter Bedford said: “Despite Mrs Hall's years she appeared to be remarkably fit and active. She preferred to stand up on the stair lift. Clearly she has overbalanced while holding a cup of tea and was not able to block her fall. I offer my condolences to her family.
We don't know the details of how long the stairlift had been installed for, so it may well have been fit for purpose initially, but we all know elderly people who have medical conditions that worsen as they age, and maybe if a different type of lift had been installed more recently then we would not have had this loss of life.

A year from celebrating her centenary Mrs.Hall was fit and active, yet required her stair lift to help her on the stairs.  We cannot comment on the methods of the installation company that would have put the lift in, and whether the user would have been sufficiently trained to use the lift safely. We can only hope that this was the case, as it always is with all our installations.
According to the family she had got into the habit of standing on the stair lift, rather than sitting on it. The footplate of the seated chair is for the short step up and down onto or off the actual chair itself. It is not designed to be stood on for the entire journey of the stairs. Unfortunately the lady struck her head whilst standing, and fell on the stairs and was hospitalised. She died 8 days later from a brain injury. 
Maybe a better lift for this lady would have been a perch stairlift, also known as a sit /stand model.  As a stairlift supplier covering Berkshire we would have recommended the perch model for those that wanted to, or needed to remain standing on the stairs, whether through preference or a medical need.
Here's a picture of one below and as you can see they are ideal for those who find bending at the hips difficult, or who just prefer to stand on the staircase whilst travelling. 
The perch lifts are better for those who cannot bend as easily at the hips or the knees or who may have replacement joints, and are also ideal for a narrow stairs installation.
The lesson here for families considering buying a stairlift is to make sure that in an ongoing way that you are caring for your relative by looking out for changing needs with regard to their mobility.  It could have been that the family was unaware that such a thing as a perch lift exists.

Here's a close up view of a couple of perch and sit stand models.

If you feel concerned by any of the issues raised in this article feel free to contact us anytime, as we aim to give no obligation advice to everyone about stair lifts. If we can't help you then we usually know someone who can. Contact us today by calling 0800 007 5050 or visit the website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Only relevant non-competing comments will be shown. All links are stripped from comments by default.