Looking after someone safely

Lifting & handling

When you are looking after someone who is ill, disabled or has mobility problems, there may be occasions when you need to lift or move them physically, for example to get them into or out of bed, to bathe them, or to help them into a wheelchair. This is sometimes referred to as 'manual handling'.

It's important to ensure that you know how to do this safely, both for yourself and the person you are looking after. If you don't learn how to lift or move a person safely, you could injure yourself or them.

The most common injuries that carers experience are back injuries, which affect more than a million people in the UK. Back injuries can be painful and take a long time to recover from, and will make it more difficult for you to move around and care for someone.

Lifting someone incorrectly could also hurt them. It could damage fragile skin, cause shoulder and neck injuries, increase existing breathing difficulties, or cause bruising or cuts.

Ensure the person remains as independent as possible
One to ensure your own safety is to make sure that person you are looking after is doing as much as possible for themselves, whilst also remaining safe.

Our regaining your independence section will tell you more about how people with health problems or disabilities can often be assisted by trained professionals to relearn old skills, and to maximise their independence.

Use specialist equipment
There is specialist equipment which can help you with lifting and handling, such as hoists, stand aids, transfer boards or slide sheets.

Our equipment to help at home section will tell you more about how to find the right specialist equipment, either privately or with assistance from a trained professional.

Take a training course
You may also be interested in taking a training course, which will teach you safe handling methods.

Your local supported independent living team, will usually have specialist workers to provide training and advice to carers on how to look after someone safely.

Disabled Living Foundation is a charity that works with people with disabilities and their carers. It offers courses for carers including introduction to moving and handling for carers. Contact on 020 7432 8010, training@dlf.org.uk.

Other information and advice
Sutton Carers Centre offers training in safe moving and handling techniques for carers. Contact for more information: Find out more about the support the Carers Centre can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8296 5611, enquiries@suttoncarerscentre.org.

The short term assessment and reablement team (START), can offer moving and handling training, and other forms of information and advice, to help carers who are struggling to look after someone safely in their home. To find out if you are eligible for this support, you will need a carer’s assessment, and the person that you care for will need to have a social care assessment. Contact 020 8770 6080 for more information.

Alzheimer’s Society Sutton provides information, advice and support for carers and people with dementia. Find out more about the support Alzheimer’s Society Sutton can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8770 1875
sutton@alzheimers.org.uk.

The Carers Forum meets quarterly at Sutton Civic Offices, and is an opportunity for carers to discuss the latest developments in carer support services in Sutton, and meet other unpaid carers from across the borough. Contact Sutton Carers Centre for information on future forum dates, and to book your place at the forum: 020 8296 5611, enquiries@suttoncarerscentre.org.

Community Drug Service for South London (CDSSL) provides support for family members and carers of substance misusers. Find out more about the support CDSSL can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8773 1881, info@cdssl.org.

Age UK Sutton provides information, advice and support to older people and their carers. Find out more about the support Age UK can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8770 4090, contact details/form.

Sutton Centre for Independent Living (SCILL) provide information and advice for carers and the people they care for. Find out more about the support SCILL can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8770 4065, information@scill.org.uk.

Sutton Citizens Advice Bureaux provides information and advice around finances (including benefits, debt and other financial matters). Find out more about the support the Sutton CABx can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8405 3552, contact form.

Sutton Mental Health Foundation provides information, advice and support for people with mental health conditions and their carers. Find out more about the support SCILL can offer you by getting in touch using the details below: Tel: 020 8770 0172, admin@smhf.org.uk.

There is also a regular programme of support groups and meetings for carers in Sutton – take a look at our page on local support groups for carers to find out more.

NHS Choices has information about manual handling which will help you to learn how to safely lift or move a person.

Carers UK is a charity set up to help the millions of people who look after an older, disabled or seriously ill family member or friend. It provides information, advice and support for carers. It also has a discussion forum where people can talk to others who know what they are going through, support each other, and share ideas. There is specific advice on looking after your back.

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