Renting a Hoyer Lift For You Cruise? Remember this Simple Tip


These days you can rent just about any piece of medical equipment and have it delivered directly to a cruise ship. And in theory that’s great, however sometimes things can go horribly awry.

That’s exactly what happened to one reader who I’ll call Jane. Jane and her husband were thrilled that they could rent a hoyer lift for their cruise, as she has one at home, and there is no way that her husband can lift her into bed without one. It seemed the answer to their prayers, and they were very excited to find the lift waiting for them when they arrived at their cabin.

Relieved that everything went as planned, they freshened up a bit then set out to explore the ship. They returned to their cabin later that evening after dinner and got ready for bed. Unfortunately when it came time to use the lift, it just wouldn’t work. They tried and tried, but to no avail. In the end, Jane ended up sleeping in her wheelchair.

The next morning they asked their cabin attendant if perhaps he could help them with the lift. Several other people became involved, but nobody could fix it. This went on for the next few days, until they finally called the rental company on the fourth day. Since they were out at sea, there wasn’t much that the rental company could do at that time, but they did arrange to have a replacement sent to their next (and last) port. Finally on the last night of the cruise Jane got to sleep in the bed.

Now Jane is kind of a plucky gal, and she just laughed off the whole incident. After all, she reminded me that she had to spend the night in her wheelchair many times when her husband was in the hospital and her flaky attendant failed to show. Still, someone who had never spent the night in their wheelchair, might not take things so calmly. In fact an incident like this could ruin most cruises.

Is there anything that Jane could have done to prevent this fiasco? Although she had no control over the equipment failure, she could have mitigated the damages if she reacted differently.

First and foremost, she should have tested the lift (with her in it) as soon as she got to her cabin, before the ship sailed. Then when she found it inoperable, she should have notified the rental company immediately. Chances are they could have easily replaced the lift on the spot. Jane freely admits she should have done that, but the excitement of being on a cruise ship just got to her, and she wanted to go out and take it all in.

The second thing that Jane did wrong was to wait for four days to notify the rental company. Her thinking behind that was that she didn’t really want to bother anyone, and she thought that maybe she just wasn’t doing something right. I can understand those feelings, but the truth is, if she would have notified the rental company on the first day — even after they set sail — chances are they could have arranged for a replacement at their first port. And Jane would have only had to spend one night in her wheelchair.

So although it seems quite basic, always remember to test any rental equipment as soon as you get to your cabin. If it doesn’t work properly, then get on the phone immediately and report it to the equipment rental company. This simple action could literally save your cruise!