How To Choose A Patient Lift And Sling

How To Choose A Patient Lift And Sling

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Amongst the many daily activities provided by medical professionals and family caregivers to others, moving patients from one location to another, or helping a patient change their position can be one of the most dangerous actions performed that could have harmful consequences on both the caregiver and the patient. The chances of injury for both the patient and the caregiver are greatly increased as more people than ever before find themselves providing at-home care for their loved ones.

Without the proper equipment, the patient is considerably more prone to fall and can get hurt. The same goes for caregivers who do not use assistive lifting devices. They are more prone to develop strains, sprains, and overexertion injuries. Here is where the patient lift and sling come into the picture.

What is a patient lift?

A patient lift (also known as a medical lift) is a piece of assistance equipment that is used to help move and transfer patients from one area to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair. They are used by people who have movement issues and cannot bear most of their weight due to aging, accidents, disabilities, and surgery. In most caregiving environments, patient lifts have been an extreme necessity.

A sling is a crucial addition to the lift that aids in moving the patient from one location or position to another safely. Transfers are safer for a patient and caregiver using a sling since they support the patient’s weight and offer stability.

This buying guide is a compilation of all you need to know when making this important purchase, as it’s extremely crucial to choose the best lift and sling that suits your individual needs.

What Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Patient Lift

There are many factors to consider while figuring out what kind of patient lift is required. The caregiver’s physical strength, dexterity, and capacity gas must also be given attention in addition to the patient’s particular needs.

Lift Size

Lifts are available in various sizes and styles, and it is important that measurements are taken of the places where the lift is to be used. This AP-Series Portable Ceiling Lift is a good solution for any room as it can be moved with the patient as they travel from room to room.


There are options for portable patient lifts that fold for storage or travel if you need to move the lift regularly; however, even portable patient lifts might be difficult for one person to lift because most of them weigh close to 80 pounds. Although they can be disassembled, the majority of these devices are made to be transported in a single folded piece.

Height and adjustability

Some lifts allow for complete height adjustment, allowing lifts to be performed from the floor all the way back up to the height of a mattress. Others provide standing-to-sit height adjustment support, like the Sara Stedy Patient Transfer Aid by ArjoHuntleigh The ideal height range for a lift depends on the patient’s needs and the precise tasks they require it to do. While floor lifts like LEVANTAR Floor Lift, Manual Base, and power base 500 lbs are more adaptable for any lifting purpose; standing lifts are more suitable for sit-to-stand chores like getting in and out of a car or wheelchair.

Weight Capacity

When selecting a patient lift, the patient’s weight must be considered to ensure the machinery can support the load. Most high-quality regular patient lifts have a weight capacity of 340 to 700 pounds, while some bariatric lifts can support 1,000 pounds or more.


A built-in scale makes it simple for caretakers and medical professionals to weigh patients while they are being transferred, especially when handling patients with increased weight – Hoyer Heavy Duty Power Patient Lift has built-in scale Patients with a high risk of falling find this extremely beneficial.

Emergency Control

Best electronic lifts will have some type of control that, in an emergency, will rapidly shut off the lift motor. Additionally, they ought to include manual overrides so that the caregiver can still transport the patient to the required area in the event that they lose power.

Slings and Cradles

The suitable patient lift sling must be chosen just as carefully as the correct one. The wide range of lift slings available today will satisfy each user’s particular requirements and will be discussed in detail in this guide. 

Lift Components

Patient lifts are made up of various parts. You can decide whether a lift is the best option for you by understanding what they are and all of their benefits. These elements consist of:

  • Casters – They are wheels, making it simpler to maneuver the lift.
  • Cradle- supports the sling and ensures patient security during transfers.
  • Base – The lift may be slid up to a variety of surfaces because of the base
  • Boom-Performs the lifting at the top of the apparatus.

Types Of Patient Lifts

Before choosing the suitable lift, your patient requires, being aware of the types of lifts available in the market will help you select one that closely addresses your needs. 

Manual Lifts 

Manual lifts are less expensive and often run-on gas or hydraulic power supplied by the operator. Since manual lifts don’t need an electric power source, they have the extra advantage of always being functional. For most patients, they are a wise choice because they offer the overall versatility to carry out a variety of transfers, even from the floor. 

These lifts need some force to be applied by the caregiver and so could be challenging for those with limited strength or if the patients were heavier

The Hoyer lift is a popular manual lift used in hospitals and home healthcare – other versions of the Hoyer lift HPL 450 series are available in both – electric and hydraulic versions

A manual, hydraulic patient lift is known as a Hoyer lift. Hoyer, which was once just a brand, is now widely recognized as providing dependable patient lift performance. These lifts are used to lift and transfer those who are unable to move independently. They are a well-liked option for medical facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care.

Electric Lifts

These lifts are also referred to as “Powered patient Lifts”. They run by a motor usually powered by a rechargeable battery or connected to an electrical power outlet. This lift has an added advantage over a manual lift because it can easily support heavier patients and is smoother in movement. 

Caregivers choose it over a manual lift despite being more expensive, especially when providing long-term patient care. 

IndeeLift Human Floor Lift is an electric lift for Fall Recovery that provides assistance for patients who have fallen to the floor. These can frequently be operated by the person who has fallen and support full and simpler fall rehabilitation, increasing security and safety for people who live alone.

Specialty patient lifts

Depending on the patient’s needs, there are specialized patient lifts in addition to the manual or electric option. Here is a list of the most popular types of patient lifts that are used beyond the essentials.

Sit-To-Stand lifts

These lifts are made specially to help patients get up from a seated position. Only patients who can hold most of their weight when standing and have control over their heads and upper bodies should utilize them.


  • Helps reach a natural standing position
  • Builds balance and strength
  • Improves range of motion
  • Decrease muscle spasms and contractures
  • Reduces pain
  • Reduces risk of pressure sores
  • Decreases risk of fall


  • Transfers are convenient and comfortable with a pivoting seat.
  • The wide chassis and adjustable legs provide direct access from any chair
  • Gives the patient a full range of motion.
  • Rolls safely and easily on flat surfaces when repositioning
  • Patients are kept safe by the crossbar handle and knee support.


  • Storing and transport are difficult
  • Requires another person to move the object – cannot be self-adjusted

The best choice in this category would be the Sara Stedy Patient Transfer Aid by ArjoHuntleigh to take easy standing and sitting positions.

Ceiling Lifts

One of the most adaptable patient lift systems is the ceiling lift, which has a variety of design possibilities to fit the layout of most homes. Most patients and caregivers find them to be cozy and simple to use. There are two types

(1) Permanent: Fixed to an indoor ceiling track and will always be attached to it
(2) Portable: Allows the usage of a lift on other ceiling tracks in different rooms by detaching it from its track.


  • Overhead ceiling-mounted lifts move effortlessly along track systems to provide smooth, simple lifting and transfer.
  • space-saving patient lift design.
  • They can be positioned everywhere in the house to transport patients wherever they need to go safely.
  • They can be installed along either permanent or temporary track systems.

Examples :

Bariatric Lifts

There are various advantages to using this kind of lift:

  • It eases the caregiver’s burden
  • The design of the bed is specific to bariatric patients
  • By lowering the risk of falls, they make transfers for bariatric patients safer.


  • Easily disassembled for transportation and storage.
  • The caster wheels make it simple to move.
  • Caregivers can move patients without requiring the boom or mast to be adjusted.


  • Unable to lift patients from the floor


Bath Lifts

These are frequently made of rust-free aluminum and germ-resistant plastic to be used inside a bathtub to lift the user into and out of the water. For added comfort, some of these lifts have reclining features.


Pool Lifts

These lifts are designed to help people in and out of water. They are frequently used in hot tubs or swimming pools. Some are movable, and some could be mounted on the deck.


A patient lift buying guide can be quite useful because numerous considerations must be made when choosing a patient lift, whether you are the patient or the caregiver. Along with the patient’s unique medical requirements, other resources like space and the lift’s transportability must be considered. Selecting a patient lift can be a crucial decision to make because it is a device that can help with mobility and significantly improve the patient’s quality of life. Since a patient lift requires a large financial commitment, you would want to make sure you get your value for money.

What Is A Patient Sling

A sling is a crucial addition to a patient lift. A sling is a specially designed piece of fabric that gets attached to the lift, it will support the patient’s weight, and will help him move from one location to another or to change his position. Transfers are much safer for a patient and caregiver when they are done using a sling, since they support the patient’s stability.

What Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Patient Sling


The right sling material should consider a patient’s weight and stability. The support and comfort levels of the patient’s sling are directly correlated with the sling’s fabric. Continuous use of the sling may result in rashes or blisters if the sling’s material irritates the user. Additionally, if the material is too weak, it may tear and result in accidents.

Types of Material Available:

  • Mesh – Excellent for use in the bathroom with toilet or bathing slings, easy to clean, and dries rapidly. It is appropriate for patients who might become wet.
  • Padded– Suitable for those who struggle with pressure ulcers or sensitive skin conditions.
  • Disposable – When hygiene standards are extreme and can be used only once
  • Polyester – Polyester is strong, simple to maintain, breathable, washable, and practical in damp or dry conditions.

Patient Match

Finding the optimal patient sling requires an accurate measurement of the patient. The patient’s height and weight, how much support they require, how strong their upper body is, and other factors specific to the patient.


Between 2 and 12 attachment points are available for patient lifts. Despite the fact that many slings can be used with patient lifts, regardless of the number of attachments, some lifts call for model-specific patient slings.


Patient height, waist/shoulder size, thigh size, and the manufacturer’s recommended weight are the four dimensions that need to be measured to choose the perfect sling. (Refer to guidelines for measurements). They frequently come in 2, 4, and 6-pack configurations.

The ideal situation for patient transfer would be accurate sling sizing because it would be safe, secure, and comfortable for the patient while preventing accidents.

Back Size of the Sling

  • High Back Sling: Used for patients who are unable to hold their heads up independently.
  • Medium Back Sling: Comfortable to transfer the patient seated and used in patients who can self-support their head.
  • Low Back Sling: support for people with varying body tones and is an alternative for a bathing sling.

Types Of Patient Slings

Full Body Sling

A full-body sling, also referred to as a hammock, supports your entire body by enclosing your arms in the sling straps.

In what situation do we use this sling?

Patients who are overly heavy, entirely reliant, or unable to bear any weight are best suited for this kind of sling.

The right size will provide complete protection for people who extend, have uncontrollable movements, or have behavioral issues.

How is it different from a regular sling?

Full Body Slings have straps at each of their four corners that are intended to connect to spreader bars and secure the sling to the spreader bar, enclosing the patient’s body.


  • Full support of the body is given
  •  Universally compatible with any patient lift


  • It may cause patient discomfort in the shoulder area
  • It can cause discomfort in the knees


Split Leg Sling

This design gently separates the patient’s legs using wide straps that loop through the legs, preventing the knees from being squeezed tightly together and assisting in distributing the patient’s weight more evenly.


  • Weight is evenly distributed
  • Knees are not squeezed tightly together- no discomfort to knees
  • The transport position is comfortable


  • Arms are not securely tucked in
  • The cross-straps in front of the patient’s body can make them feel uncomfortable


U Shape Sling

Also known as the Hygiene Sling. This kind of sling is a safe, all-purpose device that may be used for various patients and uses. Wide straps on U-slings are designed to be wrapped around the legs and thighs for support. One of its best features is the U-ability sling to be applied to or removed from the patient while seated.


  • Quick transfers are possible as the opening is at the bottom
  • Easiest of all types to be used
  • Suitable for most people


  • No head support usually
  • Legs can cause people to extend their legs farther apart than is comfortable


Universal Sling

The sling passes between the patient’s legs like a U-shaped patient lift sling. This offers stability, is simple for a caregiver to operate, and disperses weight uniformly. This prevents the patient from being too tightly compressed and lessens the pressure on any one section of the patient’s body.


  • It can be used with almost all patient lifts.
  • The weight is distributed evenly.
  • Comfortable for the user as weight is evenly distributed.
  • It makes it easy for the caregiver to position the patient in the sling.


  • The patient’s bottom is not supported, so it might take time to get used to the sling.


Toileting Sling

In contrast to full-body slings, toileting slings have a hole in the bottom that the patient can use to access a toilet. These slings have a specific use. It is advisable to have a separate full-body sling for transfer and a sling for restroom use.


  • Very hygienic
  • less fabric than other models
  • very easy to apply and remove
  • Designed for specific use


Sit to stand Back Strap

These patient lift slings are designed for people needing help and support when using a sit-to-stand lift. The lower and central portions of the body are supported by it. It is attached once the patient is standing and before the lift is moved for patients who can stand and support their own weight.


  • Easy to use with just two attachment points
  • an additional layer of safety to enable correct positioning


  • It cannot be used with other types of lifts.
  • Does not fit all patients


Lifting Sling – 4-Point Slings

In what situation do we use this sling?

These slings are most commonly used for patients with mobility challenges to be lifted and transferred securely from a bed, wheelchair, toilet or shower, reducing the risk of damage to both patient and caregiver.

How is it different from a regular sling?

Patients with physical limitations can use the waist support to sit up, move their wheelchair, stand up, climb stairs, learn to walk, and do other things. It is compatible with all medical lifts and can give the patient additional support and security if they need to move. Four simple attachment points simplify secure sling attachment and can be purchased with or without a toilet opening.


Divided Leg Sling

In what situation do we use this sling?

For patients who are completely or partially dependent, obese, unable to bear weight, or who have poor head control

How is it different from a regular sling?

Divided leg slings support patients from the back and the bottom of the thighs. It is a durable polyester full-body sling with a divided leg. Compared to a full-body patient sling, the Padded Divided Leg sling provides a broad hole for toileting access and is simpler to put on and take off a patient while seated.


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