Slings are pieces of material that are used to wrap around and support a person when using a hoist; they are attached on to the hoist by means of loops on the sling.
Slings for use with a mobile or a ceiling track hoist
The sling tends to be made of polyester or net material and has loops on the sling that are attached on to the hoist spreader bar. The sling is placed around the person to be hoisted either when they are sitting in a chair or when lying on the bed. The loops are then attached to the spreader bar on the hoist and the person is then lifted up fully supported in the sling. As a guide the more material in the sling then the more supportive the sling will be, as an example a toileting sling has very little material and offers very little support and the person has to have good trunk control in order to use this safely.
General points to consider when choosing a sling
What is the sling being used for? Bed to chair transfer or in and out of a bath or shower?
The size and stature of the person being hoisted.
The skin condition of the person, extra support in the form of padding maybe necessary.
The ability of the person using the sling, muscle tone, understanding, movement in limbs.
Check that the sling and the hoist are compatible if from a different manufacturer and very often sizing of slings varies between companies.
Slings need to be visually checked before each use for signs of wear and tear.
Slings for use with a stand aid hoist
These slings are more like a band that is positioned behind a person’s lower back and the sling is attached via loops onto the hoist so that the person is supported when they are brought up into standing. Again there are different styles of sling, some with additional support.
There are many styles of sling available to aid safe patient handling. Co-op Mobility recommends seeking advice from a suitably qualified professional to ensure that the correct sling for your particular needs is used. Slings should be regularly checked by a competent person to ensure that they are fit for use.