Can you use a hoyer lift to transfer from a car to a wheelchair?

Yes you can...See 8/28/08 update below.

8/25/08 Update: It is possible to transfer someone from a wheelchair to an automobile and vice versa with a standard hoyer lift if you have an attachment for a standard hydraulic "Hoyer" type lift and if you make some changes in the length of the chains. Standard hydraulic hoyer lifts come with an inverted "V" shaped bar which suspends the patient lower from the lift than is needed to transfer into the limited clearance area of a typical car door opening. You'll need a "straight bar" to accomplish this task and it can be ordered from sunrise medical (distributor for hoyer products). You'll also need to shorten the chains which hang from the straight bar to "squeeze" the client into a much smaller area and bring the overhead boom much closer to the clients head being careful not to bump them in the head during the transfer. Shorten the chains NOT by cutting the chains themselves but rather by hooking TWO different links to either side of the straight bar other than the painted red link that is standard for most transfers between wheelchair and bed. The red link will then dangle down unused between the two needed links. I usually shorten the chains (both at the shoulder and at the leg) by about 5 to 7 links each--more for a tall person and less for a short person. The whole idea is to reduce the overall height from the top of the hoyer boom to the bottom of the clients buttocks to be able to fit everything into the door opening of the vehicle. After you clear the boom into the top of the car door frame you should be able to pump the boom of the lift up a little higher to lift the patients buttocks into the the car seat being careful not to tear the ceiling liner with the boom of the hoyer lift. Before trying this with a patient, you should make sure that the base of the hoyer lift fits underneath the car itself as some cars sit lower to the ground than others. Note: It is much easier to transfer a patient with a hoyer lift into a full size truck, van or SUV rather than a sedan as the overall car door frame is larger and there is more room to get the boom of the hoyer lift into the vehicle when it is sitting up higher. Also, having a convertible on a sunny day is even better because you can lower the top down giving unlimited clearance over the vehicle for the transfer. With a convertible, you can use the standard "V" shaped bar that comes with the hoyer lift and not have to shorten the chains much if at all. I hope this is helpful. Feel free to e-mail me with questions. I am also a physical therapist and have worked in a rehab setting for 15 years.