A Complete Guide on How to Use a Hoist Correctly

Patient hoists were developed to assist carers in moving patients via a suitable manual handling method.  Also to assist in reducing healthcare related injuries at work.

Hoists are often installed into homes to help patients, however they can also be installed into homes for those who need assistance at home or receive care in their own home.

Hoists can be a vital aid in a variety of circumstances, including helping people to get in and out of bed, in and out of a bath, and even helping to lift patients who have fallen. Used properly, patient hoists offer optimum levels of support whilst also helping to lift and move patients when required.

Hoists can make tasks a lot easier and more efficient for carers and provide comfort and support for the patients themselves. There are many hoists available on the market, all with varying specifications and capabilities. Knowing how to use a hoist properly is essential for the safety and care of patients. This guide will demonstrate how to use a hoist properly and safely however all information provided should be considered alongside the specific guidelines provided with each hoist.

How to Use a Hoist

How to Use a Hoist With a Sling

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Emergency Floor Lifting Sling

Many patient hoists, including mobile hoists and ceiling track hoists, feature a patient sling to support the patient using the hoist. Whilst using a patient sling, the following considerations should take place:

  • Check the weight of the patient

To ensure the safety and comfort of the patient, it’s important that the patient’s weight doesn’t exceed the weight capacity of the hoist in use. Each hoist and its documentation will specify its weight capacity.

  • Clear the environment of obstacles

To ensure the patient’s safety, as well as the safety of the carers handling the hoist, it’s important that the environment is free of any obstacles that could affect the use of the hoist. Clear the floorspace and ensure that there is enough free room for the hoist and patient to manoeuvre.

  • Check the hoist

Before use, it’s important that carers handling the hoist ensure that everything is working correctly.

It’s recommended that hoists receive maintenance checks, with a guidance of doing so every 6 months. We offer a LOLER Hoist Service and Inspection plan to do this for you.

  • Choose the right sling

Select a sling based on the patient’s size and weight to ensure safety and comfort whilst the hoist is in use. We have a variety of sling options within our range so that a sling can be matched to the patient. To better understand the types of slings available, our recent guide on the different types of patient slings is a great resource.

  • Assist the patient onto the sling

Once all of the necessary safety checks and precautions have been carried out, the patient can be safely assisted onto the sling.

If the patient is being moved from a bed, carers need to move the patient safely onto the sling. To do so, carers should help a patient to safely roll onto their side. Whilst one carer supports the patient in this position, another carer should place the sling along the back of the patient so that they can roll back onto it, making sure that the sling is correctly lined up.

Once complete, carers should gently roll the patient back onto their back, before rolling them onto their opposing side to repeat the same process. Take care with ensuring that the sling is properly lined up and spread out so that the patient is fully supported.

  • Attach the sling to the hoist

Once the patient and sling are ready, prep the hoist so that it’s ready for the sling to be attached to it. When doing so, it’s imperative that carers comply with the instructions supplied with the specific sling and hoist in use, ensuring that the sling and attachments are properly fitted.

Before lifting the sling, double-check that the attachments are secure.

  • Begin lifting

Once the patient and sling are securely attached to the hoist, gently begin lifting the patient so that they are hovering above the surface they are being lifted from. To make the movement of the patient as easy and comfortable as possible, carers should be sure that the patient is lifted high enough for them to not be dragged along the surface they are being lifted from.

Once this step is successfully completed and it is clear that the hoist is secure, the rest of the lifting can be carried out.

  • Never leave the patient unattended

Once a patient is in the hoist and being lifted, never leave them on their own. Carers should accompany the patient at all times.

How to Use a Mobile Hoist

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Our Silver Beaulift Mini Hoist 150kg, easily transportable; ideal for care home use

Although the majority of information on how to use a hoist remains applicable, some additional precautions and measures should be implemented when using a mobile hoist:

  • Avoid long distances

Mobile hoists shouldn’t be used to travel patients for extended periods of time. If patients do need to go further, wheelchairs or ceiling hoists are recommended.

  • Store properly

When not in use, it’s important that mobile hoists are properly stored to avoid them becoming an obstruction. The best places to store mobile hoists enable them to be charged whilst being stored.

How to Use a Bath Hoist

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Our practical and safe Beaulift Manual Bath Hoist

Further to these points, there are some additional safety checks to carry out when using a bath hoist. Bath hoists differ from most other hoists as, instead of incorporating a sling, bath hoists feature a seat for patients to sit on. The additional safety checks to carry out are as follows:

  • Check the environment

Before using a bath hoist, carers should ensure that the floor is not slippery or wet, and make certain that there is enough space for the hoist whilst it is being manoeuvred.

  • Check water temperature

Before using a hoist to help an individual to get into a bath, it is imperative that the carer double-checks the temperature of the bath water to ensure that it is at a safe and comfortable heat. Remember, elderly patients can be particularly sensitive to extreme temperatures.

  • Ensure patient is seated properly

To ensure a patient’s safety when using a bath hoist, patients should be sat centrally on the chair to remove the risk of falling off.

How to Use a Ceiling Track Hoist

A ceiling track hoist differs from regular, bath and mobile hoists in that no floor space is required. Using a track installed on the ceiling, the sling hangs from the stable ceiling track. The specific safety checks to carry out with a ceiling hoist are as follows:

  • Clear any obstructions

Before utilising a ceiling track hoist, make sure that the ceiling tracking and pathway is clear, without any obstructions to affect movements.

  • Check the condition of the fabric

It’s crucial to always check the sling itself before using it as any wear or tear in the fabric could compromise patient safety during movement. Ensure that the sling is the right fit and size for the patient, it is clean and the right fixings are being used.

Health and Safety Training For Using a Hoist

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Regardless of the type of hoist utilised, all carers should be fully trained in using a hoist before actively doing so with a patient. All hoists will come with a handbook of instructions regarding the use, safety, and storage of that specific hoist.

Patient Handling Manikins provide a fantastic way for care homes to practice their health and safety training, including the use of hoists. Carers can use these manakins to realistically and effectively practice getting patients into and out of hoists.

Maintenance of Hoists

All patient lifting equipment should be examined and inspected every 6 months, as identified by the Lifting Operations and Lifting equipment Regulations (LOLER). At Beaucare, we offer a LOLER Hoist Service and Inspection and also a LOLER Ceiling Hoist Track Service and Inspection. Maintenance is essential to ensure the safety and efficiency of equipment.

To better understand the different hoist types available on the market and to find the most suitable for a patient’s needs and environment, our guide to using patient hoists safely in care offers a more detailed explanation. Alternatively, get in touch with our team for friendly and professional advice on your individual care requirements.

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