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July 10, 2017

How to Safely Lift a Patient into a Patient Lift/Hoyer Lift

doctors patient lift

Lifting and moving patients either in a healthcare institution or at home can be dangerous task, as doing so improperly can injure the patient or damage the lift. The FDA has a comprehensive download that breaks down the ways to lift patients safely in this colorful handout; but we’ve compiled the information from that handout below:

1. Caregiver Safety Tips

Use lifts for these activities to avoid sustaining a back injury:

Do NOT push, pul or lift while:

Tip: Work as close to the patient as possible to avoid stress of leaning.

2. Know Your Lift

patient lift

Tip:  knowing the lift and how to use it correctly can prevent patient falls from lifts- which may cause injuries, including head trauma, fractures and death.

3. Before Using a Lift, Check the Patient’s Condition

Before using a patient lift, check:

4. Selecting a Patient’s Sling Size

  1. Assess patient’s size, weight and hip measurement.
  2. Choose size of sling based on manufacturer recommendation for patient’s measurements. Choosing correct sling size is critical for safe patient transfer.

SLING TOO LARGE: Patient may slip out.

SLING TOO SMALL: Patient may fall out. Sling may worsen patient’s condition.

IF BETWEEN SIZES: Smaller size may keep patient more secure.

5. Choose Sling and Sling Bar

To increase patient safety, use the correct type and size of sling for your patient. Select sling and sling bar based on manufacturer recommendations for the following criteria:

Some medical conditions such as stroke, orthopedic conditions, amputations or certain wounds may affect sling choice.

Sling Bars

6. Prepare Environment

Determine number of caregivers needed:

Position lift and receiving surface:

Clear path for lift:

7. Prepare Equipment

8. Place Patient in Sling

  1. Place patient in sling.
    • Position center of sling under patient’s spine.
    • Place leg straps flat under patient; do not let material fold.
    • Make sure sling opening is not large enough to let patient slip out or too small to let patient fall out.
  2. Lower sling bar down to patient. Do not let sling bar hit patient.
  3. Attach sling straps to sling bar as directed by manufacturer.
    • Use matching loops from each side to ensure sling is balanced.
    • Choose loops that provide best angle and position for patient.
    • Ensure all clips or loops are secure and will stay attached as patient is lifted.
    • Ensure straps are not twisted.
    • Ensure patient’s head and/or back is supported, if needed.

9. Perform Safety Check

Before lifting the patient, perform safety check:

  1. Examine all hooks and fasteners to ensure they will not unhook during use.
  2. Double-check position and stability of straps and other equipment before lifting patient.
  3. Ensure clips, latches and bars are securely fastened and structurally sound.
  4. For electric lifts, make sure batteries are always charged

10. Lift the Patient

  1. Lift patient two inches off the surface to make sure patient is secure. Check the following:
    • Sling straps are confined by guard on sling bar and will not disengage.
    • Weight is spread evenly between straps.
    • Patient will not slide out of sling or tip backward or forward.
  2. Check patient’s comfort:
    • Make sure sling does not pinch or pull patient’s skin.
    • Ask if patient is comfortable.
    • Look for non-verbal signs of discomfort.
  3. Slowly lift patient, only as high as necessary to complete transfer. Check the following:
    • Patient is still comfortable.
    • Sling will not hurt patient’s skin.

11. Lower the Patient

  1. Use gentle hands-on pressure to guide patient as you slowly move lift toward receiving surface.
  2. Slowly lower patient toward receiving surface. Move patient’s body into correct position on receiving surface before releasing patient’s weight.
  3. Release patient’s weight. Do not let sling bar hit patient.
  4. Detach sling from lift using manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Carefully remove sling from patient’s body, if necessary.
    • Be careful not to hurt patient’s skin.
    • Ensure that seated patients do not fall forward as sling is removed.

If power fails, use the emergency release to lower patient manually.

12. Patient Lifts at Home

13. Sling Care

14. Patient Lift Care


Get the safety training:

patient lift and transfer Click here to learn more

patient lift and transfer Click here to learn more

patient lifting and transfer Click here to learn more

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