As physiotherapists we often encounter clients who can stand with some help, but cannot safely pivot or step top move from one location to another, such as from bed to wheelchair or bed to commode.
The Sara Stedy is a relatively simple piece of equipment, but for the right client it certainly does the job – providing a safe and simple, yet active, way for someone to transfer. It is very simple to use, with no electrical parts. It basically consists of a foot plate, on which the patent stands, a knee brace, which supports the leg position, and a rail, which the patient can use to help stand using one arm or both arm. Once stood, two flaps behind the patient are rotated down to form a seat, which the patient then perches on. The whole unit is on wheels and can then be moved to the new desired location. To sit down the process is reversed – the patient stands and the flaps are rotated out of the way, ready to sit down at the new location.
The Sara Stedy is an updated version of the old Stedy model. It’s basic operation is the same, but they’ve added a few improvements which were badly needed. The legs of the Sara can now be moved wider and narrower to access chairs and commodes of different widths – the previous model did not have adjustable legs which made numerous seats inaccessible because you simply could not get close enough. The flaps now rotate out instead of flipping up making them easier to move in and out whilst the patient stands, and also provides more space to access chairs with arms.
To use this equipment successfully the patient requires the following:
- Sufficient trunk control and sitting balance to be independent and safe in a perched sitting position, and to sit unsupported if transferring to a bed
- Ability to stand, even if requiring some support through the knees
- Ability to follow instructions, prompts, or gestures consistently, to participate actively in the transfer
- Allows more frequent use of active standing and sit to stand practice through the day during routine cares
- Easy to use
- Requires one carer to assist the patient to transfer in most cases
- Whilst the design has improved, it can still be tricky to access some chairs
I have two nursing home resident clients who are using this particular piece of equipment. Both have had strokes with dense weakness down one side, and both have progressed to a point where they can stand with the help of one person and a rail in therapy. One gentleman was step transferring with heavy help of two carers in an unsafe manner, but is now able to transfer safely with one carer using the Sara Stedy. Another is a lady who was not performing any standing and instead transferred using a sling hoist, requiring the help of two carers. Both these clients are now standing daily as part of their regular care routines with help from one carer, which means they are engaging in frequent, safe practice of standing away from the therapy environment.