Adjust text size:

Integralift: A Universally Designed Bed Lift

January 25 2011 | by

Five years ago, two Norwegian entrepreneurs, Svein Idso and Skjalg Aabakken, attended Rehacare in Dusseldorf — one of the largest exhibitors of assistive technologies — to look for a suitable patient lift that would work in Idso’s 10th floor apartment. Aabakken, and Isdo, who is a wheelchair user, couldn’t find what they needed. Even the best designed ceiling lifts looked like a “power tool … and why would anyone want a power tool hanging over their bed?”, asked Aabakken.

So Aabakken, a product developer and designer who has created products ranging from stoves to remote controls for older people, and Idso wanted to create a brand-new lift. In Norway, the government delivers health and home care to every person who needs it. They talked to nurses, who told them the barriers they face when trying to help transfer patients from their bed to their wheelchair and vice versa.

First, the big sling tended to be hidden away so it was difficult for nurses to locate them. Also, in areas like nursing homes where there’s a large rotation of caregivers, the batteries often ran out and nobody took responsibility for changing them. And most importantly, nurses felt that families didn’t like to install large ceiling patient lifts, instead opting for a mobile hoist that could be put into the closet.

In doing research Idso and Aabakken found that for safety reasons, the actual time in the sling should be kept to a minimum. They decided to make a system powered by a German motor with a large lifting range, but without the ability for users to independently move from room to room, to minimize risk. They also wanted a system that would never run out of batteries, be easy to install and ultimately just look like a nice piece of furniture in a typical bedroom — following the concepts of universal design. Viola, the Integralift was born.

Today Integralift comes in many colors, and can be integrated with bedroom furniture. It can even be built with a bookshelf. And Idso and Aabakken’s company, named Integra, is now hoping to roll out the product to hotel chains, which have a requirement in many countries — including the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S. — to offer their guests with disabilities access to a transfer lift so they can get into and out of their beds. One interested hotel chain, Rica, is based in Norway, where Integra already has a local distributor.

“The IntegraLift s a new and unique system. We believe it delivers dignity, respect, efficiency for both the user and for the workplace of the caregiver,” says Aabakken. And it’s one cool piece of universally designed furniture, too.

If you know any hotels that might like to use Integralift, please let the company know by emailing them at


Related posts:

  1. Have a (Universally Designed) Coke and a Smile
  2. A Gym Designed for Wheelchair Users
  3. Put the Obama Gaffe to Bed