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Tips for dressing

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    Tips for dressing

    Hello, I am helping to care for my Mum at the moment and don’t know what to do to help her dress.

    She is permanently wheelchair bound and is transferred from bed-commode in the morning, on which she dresses.

    She cannot move even to one side or push up from the chair slightly to aid dressing as all feeling in legs is gone.

    That being said, does anyone have tips for putting underwear on and trousers when unable to lift seat off the surface or lean to aid pulling up?

    Thank you


    Sarah, it is difficult to get some of us out of bed. I can still use arm on right side. I use a sit to stand hoist as have ability to sit up on my bed as it full hospitable bed. I can still pull myself around and then feet on hoist and then lifted up and put on commode chair for the bathroom. When finished in bathroom again lifted on the hoist my underwear and trousers pulled up. I then put on my wheelchair which is the Salsa M2 which is fully very comfortable. I also have ceiling hoist but luckily still alright using the stand hoist.
    Best wishes John


      Hi Sarah and a warm welcome to the Forum.

      How does your mum transfer from bed to commode? That will give us an idea of when is best to dress her lower half and in which style of clothes.

      Love Ellie.
      ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
      Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


        Hi and thank you for replying so soon.

        Ellie - the commode is placed directly next to her bed. After she is sat up using the remote for her hospital bed, my Dad lifts/drags her onto the commode. He then will not help her until it is time to put her jeans on.

        She has a chair placed in front of her to pull herself forward a few mm’s but currently her knickers get stuck under her even if she can get the sides up and it takes her up to 25 mins whilst causing considerable emotional distress.

        Jay-Tee, I really feel for you but am very happy you have your routine sorted! Mum doesn’t have a hoist and Dad will not consider making any such adaptations to the house, sadly.

        Thank you x


          Oh your poor Mum, Sarah. I can just imagine how horrible that is for her (and for you) I am going to be blunt... this isn't about your Dad, it's about giving your Mum quality of life. MND robs us of so much, everything which can be done to improve our day, should be done. (and I know that's easy for me to say from afar)

          She needs a hoist to get her safely in and out of bed, and give her the dignity she deserves and needs. Hoists don't need to be full ceiling type - so no "house adaptations" needed - but there are portable types, either sit-to-stand or full sling hoists, which can sit under a throw all day if your father objects to it. Your Mum's OT will assess her and provide a suitable one for her. (if you want, I can show you photos) Then dressing is dependent on which hoist she uses.

          Your Dad risks hurting himself and your Mum with all that hoiking on & off the bed, then they'd be rightly stuck! Does your Mum sit in a wheelchair/armchair during the day and transfer the same way?

          There are knickers with side opening poppers but she'd still need to raise her bum off the commode.

          Sending you a big hug, sounds as if you've got your hands full.

          Love Ellie.
          ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
          Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


            Thank you so much, Ellie. It is truly heartbreaking for me to witness (I do not usually live with them). I feel so helpless. I think the first step will be to ask for an OT to pay a visit as currently she doesn’t receive any physio or NHS home care.

            I would love to see photos of the hoists. If she is not able to stand up could she use them effectively? She has very little strength in her arms too.

            The rest of the day she is transferred using a wooden transfer board and shunted along it to reach the chair/armchair.

            I cannot thank you enough for your help xx


              I found some videos for you Sarah which will give you an idea of what's involved. These are typical hoists, there are many brands and subtle differences between them, same goes for slings.

              I use the sit to stand hoist with my arms at my side as they just flop off the handles, I get enough support from the sling but I can weightbear.

              Sit to stand hoist.

              Full sling (passive) hoist.

              Yes, definitely contact her OT (tomorrow )

              Love Ellie.
              Last edited by Ellie; 15 May 2020, 10:05.
              ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
              Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


                Sarah, I totally understand the difficulties trying to get dressed, I now can’t stand alone so in order to keep my safe, hubby always dresses me lying down, he gets me on my side, pulls up items as far as he can and then rolls me over on the other side and does that side to side till there up, definitely get a hoist


                  Ellie - those videos are so helpful. Yesterday she called the OT team and I am so proud of her so I hope they may be able to advise on /provide such things.

                  Hayls - WOW! Your husband sounds phenomenal. I will suggest this and wish my Dad had half that heart/interest.

                  What a great community this is - I am going to encourage my Mum to join. X


                    Hi Sarah and a warm welcome to the forum from me.

                    I am so sorry for your mums diagnosis and that she is having such problems. It must be heartbreaking for you both.

                    It's good that she's contacted the OT because he or she can assess how your mum transfers and gets dressed etc and suggest ways to make her life easier, safer and as dignified as possible. Hopefully this may get your Dad on board too.

                    I cannot weight bear at all but my arms are still strong enough to push up in my chair and transfer sideways. My husband moves my legs across and always stands in front in case I topple forwards. I lived in Jeans and never wore a dress but reluctantly I realised trousers are too hard and a dress is much easier to put on. I think we have to make life as easy as possible as living with MND is challenging enough.

                    Our OT is generally a step ahead of me ( not literally!) and I have been assessed for the right hoist for when I need it. I really hope your mum gets this support during these difficult, isolation times.

                    It would be great if you mum could join in the forum.
                    Make sure you take care and look after yourself too.
                    Love Debbie x