Safety and Education
Sling Inspections and Maintenance
December 06, 2011
In a continuing effort to improve the health and safety of our clients and care
givers, the management of A Better Choice Home Care is soliciting the help of
our care givers. Specifically we are asking for the help of those working in the
homes of consumers where lifts are in use. Please use the attached information
to supplement existing sling inspections and maintenance procedures.
Manufacturer warrantees on new slings typically do not exceed two years.
Some factors that affect the life of a sling are:
Frequency of use
Number of washings
Temperatures of wash water
Types of detergents used
When a new sling is put into service it is recommended that a start date be
placed on the sling with a permanent marker.
If a new sling is put into service, check the lift capacity to assure that the lift
capacity of the sling and the patient lift are compatible.
Use compatible slings and lifts (For example loop slings should never be
modified to attach to clip receptors and vice versa)
Follow the manufactures recommendations for use at all times.
Inspection and Care
Slings should be inspected for wear and tear prior to each use. The typical life
expectancy of a sling is two years.
Documentation of inspections should be recorded in consumers Daily health
Visual Inspection Procedure:
Place sling on flat surface so all areas of sling are visible
Check loops and stress points of sling for signs of fraying
Check stitching looking for frayed or loose stitching
Check for heat damage indicated by shrinking or scrunching of sections. Brittle
or stiff feel to fabric is also an indication of heat damage.
Carefully look and feel for rips and holes
Check for indications that sling has been exposed to bleach (Reject any sling
laundered with bleach)
Check for staining and discoloration. (This may be a sign of exposure to
If any anomalies are detected or if you have any doubts about the safety of the
sling, as a precaution stop using the sling.
If you are responsible for laundering the sling follow all care instructions on the
Laundering often has the greatest impact on the condition and longevity of a
A typical sling should be washed in mild soap solution at temperatures below 80
Please note the following:
Never use bleach
Tumble dry low heat
Never place in contact with a heat source
Do not dry clean
Do not iron
Friction Reducing Devices – A Better Solution
Within the healthcare industry, repositioning patients is always a serious concern.
The science of lifting a human and gravity are important aspects to a safe move.
Repositioning, turning, and boosting patients up in bed are common sources of
injury. These are high risk tasks that are performed several times during the course of
a shift. Studies have shown that friction reducing sliding aids, most commonly
referred to as slider sheets or repositioning devices, are a better solution over the
traditional draw sheet.
To appreciate the value of friction reducing devices, we must understand the
concepts of friction and force. Merriam-Webster defines friction as “the force that
resists relative motion between two bodies in contact” and force as “strength or
energy exerted or brought to bear.”
When sliding a patient up in bed, friction results between the patient and the bed.
There is more friction generated with a traditional draw sheet as it slides over th e bed
than with a slippery slider sheet. Because sliding is more difficult with a draw sheet,
the tendency is to lift up which causes more force.
As friction increases, momentum is reduced during the transfer, requiring more force
on the part of the caregiver to perform the task.
Friction reducing slider sheets are becoming more widely used in the healthcare
setting. When using these sheets, the patient’s weight actually feels lighter and
moves with less friction and drag. These sheets also reduce the shearing forces on the
Tips for using slider sheets:
Where possible, patients should be encouraged to move themselves or partially assist
to the best of their ability.
Tilt the bed to a head down position to allow gravity to assist
Be sure to lock the wheels on the bed.
Close attention should be paid to proper body mechanics, body positioning during
the lunge, and wrist positioning when using these sheets. It is important to slide
the sheet and resist the tendency to lift up. Dragging your knuckles along the bed
can help you to maintain the slide.
These same sheets can also be used to turn a patient, making it much easier for the
caregiver. By using the sheets, it minimizes over reaching and the force necessary to
turn a patient.
It is important to note the following:
Never leave the device under the patient unless the manufacturer specifically
recommends it. This may put the patient at risk for falling out of bed.
Heavier patients may still require excessive force to move. Use of a mechanical lift
to reposition a patient may be more appropriate.
Introducing repositioning slider sheets into some of the homes is not only safer for
your, but for the patient too.