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Hoist Guidelines:

  • Hoists must be used as much as possible
  • Make sure Safe Working Loads are adhered to
  • Use appropriate attachment for patient
  • Always ensure correct size sling is used
  • When necessary, use a stretcher attachment
  • Amputee sling must be used for amputee patient

Mobile Hoists:
Hoists are designed to take the partial or full weight of a person to allow easier lifting and transferring from one surface to another. If used correctly, a hoist greatly reduces the risk of injury through a fall and protects carers from back strain. Included here is some basic information on hoists and slings; however, we strongly advises that your choice of a hoist and sling should be made in consultation with your therapist. Mobile hoists may use a hydraulic or electric mechanism to lift the user so that they can be transferred between two close surfaces. They are not designed to transfer users between rooms.

Many mobile hoists use a hydraulic mechanism incorporating a hand pump to raise the boom and a release valve to lower. Pumping, however, can be difficult if the operator has weak or injured upper limbs or the person being lifted is very heavy. Electrically operated hoists use a hand-held button control to both raise and lower the boom. Some mobile hoists have the option of a standard spreader bar, a pivot frame or a stretcher attachment.

When using a mobile hoist the following points should be considered:

  • Is there adequate space to turn and maneuver the hoist in the area in which it is to be used?
  • Can the carer comfortably push the hoist?
  • Is the lifting range of the boom adequate to lift from the floor and up to a high bed, a chair, or a commode?
  • Can the spreader bar rotate with the boom in the elevated position, and is there sufficient space around the mast and boom to turn the user while supported in the sling?
  • Will the legs spread sufficiently to fit around large chairs?
  • Is the load capacity of the hoist adequate for the person to be lifted?
  • If the hoist is to be used for bed or bath transfers, there must be free space under the bed or bath. This space is normally around 120mm to 150mm.
  • If the hoist is to be used in the shower, the shower floor should be continuous with the bathroom floor, or the shower tray must have a ramped edge.

The correct selection and use of a sling is vital to the success of a hoist. Slings must fit correctly and provide sufficient support so that the user feels secure and comfortable. Padded leg sections, or fully padded slings, can increase comfort but may make the sling more difficult to fit. Slings are available in a variety of fabrics including mesh (for showering or quick dry) and other woven synthetic fabrics. Slings are tailored differently, so it is recommended that all slings should be tailored for individual comfort and fit.

General Purpose Divided Leg Slings are designed for ease of fitting. The split leg slings are placed behind the user's back and each leg section is passed under and up through the legs. These slings provide good support for the trunk, pelvis and thighs but enable only limited access for personal hygiene. They may come with or without head support. These slings often have long straps with numerous loops for attachment to the spreader bar and therefore are versatile but they can be confusing when learning to use.

Pivot or Banana Slings are designed to attach to a pivot frame instead of a spreader bar. A banana sling and pivot frame enable the carer to change the user's posture (e.g. from lying to sitting) during the lift and to remain standing in front of the user or beside the hoist.

Access or Toileting Slings are designed to leave the waist and buttocks open for ease of fitting, access to clothing, and for toileting in the sling. They have long split leg sections which provide support under the thighs and a narrow back support section. Toileting slings are not suitable for lifting individuals who require full body or head support.

Hammock Slings are a continuous piece of material designed to support the back, hips and thighs.

Amputee Slings provide full support under the thighs to prevent slipping through, but can be difficult to fit from a sitting position.

Band Slings consist of two bands of material; one passed under the user's knees, the other passed under their armpits. Band slings are very quick and easy to fit but are only suitable for individuals who do not need full body support. They are unsuitable for individuals with shoulder problems.

Stand Up Slings are available in two main types:

  1. Toileting slings, which support the user under the armpits and around upper to mid back level and are suited to more active users.
  2. Transfer slings which support the user in a sitting posture