Lavin Lift Strap, Invented for Family, Lightens Load for Caregivers
When Manuel Lavin’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, his mother was adamant about her desire to keep him at home as long as possible. As the disease progressed, however, his father became combative. Particularly challenging tasks were changing and cleaning him. Lavin’s mother didn’t have the physical strength to lift her husband, and the device Medicare sent over worked well for transportation, but not everyday lifting and changing.
Lavin decided to try and rig up their own device. Using seatbelt material, Velcro, and a couple of hooks, they were able to come up with something that lifted their father’s legs almost like one would lift a baby’s legs during a diaper change. It worked so well that Lavin’s father stopped being combative, and his mother was able to keep him at home longer. “And he never had a bedsore,” Lavin adds.
After his father passed, Lavin’s wife, Donna Gilkey-Lavin, told him she thought he should try to market his device. At first, Lavin dismissed the suggestion—surely someone else had already beaten him to it, he thought. After some research, Lavin discovered that, in fact, no such product existed. He started working on a prototype and patented both the device and the process used to make it, and the Lavin Lift Strap was born.
The Lavins, who both retired after successful careers in IT, made a promotional DVD with family members acting out the parts of patients and caregivers, took it to healthcare conventions, and word slowly got out. The Lavin Lift Strap works with any standard patient lifter that has T-bar technology to elevate the lower half of a patient’s body, allowing caregivers easy access for cleaning, changing, and other care-delivery needs.
A nurse wanted to evaluate the product at a chain of healthcare facilities in California. “I went out to see how the feedback was,” Gilkey-Lavin says. “Six out of eight patients preferred being lifted to being rolled. One patient was stuck in the fetal position, but six weeks after using our product, her limbs were becoming less … Next Page »