1. There are some people who should never be hoisted?


    False: Everybody can be hoisted if the correct equipment is available.

2. When hoisting what needs to be checked every time?

      Date of last service check (6 monthly)
      Cleanliness
      Battery charged
      Slings safe and appropriate
      Consent

3. Your ward has 3 medium sized slings. A woman is admitted who weighs 5 stone
but cannot weight bear. Do you….

a) Lift her (she’s tiny and you think it can’t possibly hurt)
b) Ask a neighbouring ward if you can use their small sling
c) Discuss the situation with the ward manager

    B and C

4. When are the brakes used on a mobile hoist?

    When hoisting from the floor
    Hoisting on an incline
    On a standing aid

5. An elderly man is admitted to your ward. Following completion of his risk
assessment you decide that he cannot reliably weight bear and needs to be hoisted.
His family inform you that they refuse to allow him to be hoisted; must you do as they
say? Why?

      Only the patient can give or decline consent
      Negotiation is important
      Risk assessment must be carried out
      MHOR 1992
      Consider other handling techniques
      Health and safety of the carers must be considered

6. Some hoists are battery powered and some are hydraulic. Are there any
advantages to choosing a hydraulic hoist?

    No electricity required
    Doesn’t need to be charged

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7. Battery powered hoists have a red emergency button – what is this for?

    Emergency stop
    There is usually also an emergency lower button or manual control

8. Some hoists are mobile and some are fixed to the ceiling (overhead hoists). Name
two advantages of each.

    Mobile hoist              - can be moved anywhere
                               - easy to move

    Over-head hoist           - can take more weight
                               - takes up less floor space

9. If it is difficult to position a sling on the patient whilst in a chair is it reasonable to
leave the sling in place? Why?

    As a rule always take the sling out.
    If it is absolutely necessary to leave it in the sling should be made of a suitable

10. If your patient needs to be hoisted in a sitting up-position, what loops would you
use on the sling?

    Short loops at the shoulders, long loops at the legs.

11. Describe 3 different types of sling

    There are many different types of slings. (see below for more details)

12. Is it acceptable to use a sling made by one manufacturer and a hoist made by
another? Why?

    Generally no. It can be done if the patient has a specific sling made for their
     own use – this must be risk assessed and usually checked with the
     manufacturer of the hoist. If in doubt seek advice from a manual handling
    Some slings are entirely unsuitable because the design of the attachments
     makes it impossible to use on any other hoist.

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There are many types of hoists available and many different manufacturers and
styles. However most hoists work on a similar principle and only differ slightly in their

Most hoists have all of these components:

                                               1. Lift mast
                                               2. Lift arm
                                               3. Base
                                               4. Battery box
                                               5. Handcontrol
                                               6. Control box with emergency stop, built-in
                                               charger and emergency lowering button.
                                               7. Slingbar with safety latches
                                               8. Handles
                                               9. Service label
                                               10. Motor/actuator for lift mast
                                               11. Motor for base-width adjustment
                                               12. Rear wheels with brakes
                                               13. Front wheels
                                               14. Cable for handcontrol
                                               15. Flexlink
                                               16. Emergency lowering (mechanical)
                                               17. Locking handles
                                               18. Color codes for sling sizes

      Mobile

                                     These hoists are on wheels and can be easily
                                     manoeuvred for patient use.

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      Ceiling track
                                    These hoists are attached to tracking that is
                                    fitted to the ceiling. They can generally take
                                    more weight than a mobile hoist but are
                                    limited to the position of the tracking. Some
                                    systems incorporate extensive tracking and
                                    junction boxes to allow for more freedom.

      Standing aid

                                    These are used to help people stand. The
                                    patient must be able to weight bear to use
                                    one of these and the brakes should always
                                    be used.

      Stretcher hoist

                                    These can be used to lift a patient in a flat
                                    and supine position. Some hoists have
                                    different spreader bar attachments to allow
                                    alternative slings to be used.

      Walking hoist

                                    These are useful for gait re-education and
                                    rehabilitation. The patient is fitted with a
                                    special walking harness for support.

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      Electric and battery operated

                                       The lifting and lowering mechanism as well
                                       as the leg width is controlled from a handset
                                       attached to the hoist.

      Manual or hydraulic

                                       There are a few hydraulic hoists still in
                                       circulation but generally they are not very
                                       common. They have a release valve to lower
                                       the boom and a hand operated lever to raise
                                       the boom. The release valve needs to be
                                       closed when the pump mechanism is used to
                                       raise the boom. The release should be a slow
                                       movement to avoid the patient being
                                       “dropped” too quickly.

There are a multitude of different slings available with varying designs and functions.
Each patient will have to be assessed for the correct sling according to their needs.
The most important considerations are the size, type and fabric of the sling.


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      Standard sling                                Access sling

      High-back sling
                                                     Amputee sling

                                                     Standing sling
      Bathing sling

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It is important to have a sling that fits a person correctly. If the sling is too large there
is a risk of slipping out of the sling. A sling that is too small can result in the spreader
bar coming too close to the face. The sling can be tight in the crotch and cause
discomfort, and the sling may not provide enough support for the back. These
instructions are only guidelines and each patient and sling needs to be individually

           1. With the patient sat in a chair/lying supine fold the sling in half along its
              length. Place the sling against the patient and measure it from the top
              of the head to the base of the spine. (If it is not a full-body sling it
              should be measured starting at shoulder level.)

           2. Measure the leg piece of the sling against the patient from the back of
              the seat to the knee (or the floor to the knee). The leg piece should
              extend about 10 inches past the knee to fit correctly.

           3. Make sure the sling fits the body width by holding the sling level with
              the shoulders. There should be a couple of inches extra width on both

    Carers should always maintain good posture when inserting a sling.
    Raise the bed to a good height
    Roll the patient from side to side remembering to use normal patterns of
    Fold or roll the sling so that the patients spine will be in the middle of the sling
    Place the leg straps under the legs, bending the knees if necessary
    Some slings require the straps to be crossed over to maintain dignity

    Lean the patient forward in the chair and slide the sling behind them. It may be
     necessary to fold the sling in half to do this.
    Place the sling behind the patient so that the centre of the sling is in line with
     the patient’s spine
    Slide the sling down behind the patient until the bottom of the sling meets the
    Gently pull the leg straps round to the front and bring them under the knee
    If the leg needs to be raised to position the leg strap DO NOT LIFT IT
    Use a sliding sheet to slide the patient’s foot onto the carers thigh


A visual pre-use check should always be carried out before using a hoist and sling.
The equipment should not be used if any failure is noticed. More extensive recorded
checks can be made on a regular basis:

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      Safe Working Load (SWL).
      Service history – The law states that hoists must be tested every six months
       (PUWER & LOLER).
      The battery must have sufficient charge – Is there a spare, should it be on
       charge when not in use, is there and indicator?
      The handset must work.
      Are all the wheels moving freely?
      Electrical safety - bare wires damage to sockets etc.
      Check that the brakes work.
      If the hoist has an emergency stop mechanism it must be “off” so that the hoist
       can work.
      The legs of the hoist must fit around the furniture or equipment that the patient
       is on.


      The sling must be clean
      The stitching must be checked before each use
      Are the loops/clips attached to the sling correctly
      Labels usually face the outside of the sling
      Check the SWL of the sling as well as the hoist
      Disposable slings should be checked carefully for signs of wear – they should
       be disposed of if they become wet and they should not be washed or cleaned.

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