Four months had passed since I imported a patient hoist/lift from the USA, and only started lately to use it to transfer me from one surface (sitting position) to another. As you all perhaps know that after my fracture in femur in 2013, I lost my ability to stand and transferring from one place to another has become difficult. Initially the transfer between the wheelchair and car (and car to wheelchair) has been the most difficult thing, but these days every transfer has become difficult as parents find it harder to shift me here and there. My mom too has exposed to serious health issues lately and expected to be addressed (by hysterectomy) soon, so I thought it was the right moment to go for an alternate and thus the patient lift.
There are hoist manufactures in India, but Indian make are bigger in size and take away large space while being operated as well as in idle, so I was looking for a portable ones which are available only in abroad. First I inquired about the popular one in the hoist manufacturing, the Milford Peron Lift, both in US and UK through my friends there. It is a lift that can be mounted into a car as well as walls at home, near the cot and toilet, where the transference happens frequently. But the price of person lift cost a lot and falls out of the budget. Actually there isn't a budget quota but knowing my limits I kept away the idea and went to Take-along Lift, after learning its usage, which seems to be simplest, and the compact in size grows a desire and interest to fetch.
I decided to go for it with confident only after getting nod from one of the mobility aid manufacturer in Chennai, who I know for long time and who understand the needs of disabled so well. But moreover it is because of my friend, who was on onsite to USA, boosted my confidence. Because I believed someone being there would be great helpful in communicating with the company and can confidently progress with purchase. I just passed the link of the website to him and he takes care of the entire procedure and updated me with each step forward. He also paid the entire sum, including the shipping, to repay when he returns home. What really caused trouble was the imposed customs duty at the airport, which we didn't expect?
This is the first time we are importing something from abroad, although we aware about the customs duty but what make us carefree was that my friend told, the shipping company (USP) has said to deliver at home. He was further told the hoist will be delivered within a week of payment, so I was looking forward to receive it without going out anywhere. Meanwhile, I received a call from the shipping company agent in Chennai and he asked us to collect the hoist from the airport, via custom house agent (CHA), by producing the document which he had sent through email. Before that he asked us to come over their office and take away the dispatch notification by paying an amount and only showing that at the airport will lead out the hoist.
Initially he hadn't said anything about visiting his office, so we proceeded with a relative, who is working at cargo and who helped us with each step within the customs regulatory and I am sure if he hadn't it would have been great difficult with the proceeding. He had been in touch with airport authorities on the arrival of flight (BA 035) and also arranged for a CHA to clear away the customs proceeding, where we are insist to pay 25% of the entire cost ($2215) of the hoist. Although they reduced 10% on the customs duty later when we produced my medical documents and letter from our family doctor on the purpose of importing the hoist, we spent more than 10% of the amount of duty here and there on the progress including the rupee paid for the releasing order from the shipping company.
It was less than a week progress from the time I received the call from the shipping agent, and the flight hadn't arrived at the time/date he had mentioned in the mail and when we inquire about it, only then he told about the order to get from them. In the other mail he indicated that only 1 pack of the 4 packs had arrived and our relative also confirmed it, so we waited for a couple of days for the others packs to come. But after a day or two day when we called the agent, in doubt, as I read the packing would be done as a sole carton, he told that it was only 1 pack and the other 3 were marked mistakenly. So no way blaming others, as we have to pay extra charges for the days it had been retained by the customs.
Coming to the Portable TransferAid (PTA), it weights merely 20 kg and could lift individuals weighting up to 136 kg and though it’s a manually operated mechanism, it’s the easiest among the patient lifts I have seen. This lift can be used both at home and transported in a car to use where we needed and it can also be disassembled into two parts of approximately equal weight for easy transport. Unlike other hoist/lift that elevates patient in hanging or swing position, the PTA lifts like seated in chair and comes in two lifting options. The Seat and Split Slings are both used for transferring and the seat sling is positioned underneath the patient, while waking up from bed, with closed bottom, to feel not unease while travelling out of doors and quick transferring. But the split sling is designed to lift patient from their sitting position and is mainly used for toileting as the sling provides access to clothing and under-garments.
Just began to use it slowly, we are supposed to practice it more for easier transferring. The seat sling doesn't need much effort like the split sling which has extract strap to connect for safety feature and the force required to turn crack (to lift patient) is typically less than 5 lbs. So far we have been used it many time for transferring me from wheelchair to car/SUV, but haven’t take it out anywhere. I hope it will be very useful in coming days as my parents feeling tough to transfer me, and the PTA doesn't need much manpower to access and look after others.