Safety First: Using Patient Lift Slings
Whether it is a loved one or yourself that has the challenge of limited mobility, the first concern of everyone involved in medical care is safety. This is especially when it comes down to transferring someone from their wheelchair to the bed or bath and back to the chair once again. The number one tool for insuring that all transfers are as safe as possible is patient lift slings.
Patient lift slings are an indispensable item to have whenever you need to transfer anyone safely from the bed or the chair. With the slings, no one needs to worry about their own personal safety while performing the transfer; not the nurse or home health care worker and definitely not the patient being transferred. Slings can also be used to preserve the personal dignity of the person being transferred because it removes the awkwardness of being grabbed by multiple people to initiate and complete the move from bed to chair, especially when it is from chair to bath.
Patient lift slings can also be used in conjunction with a manual lift or a hydraulic lift, especially when you do not have the extra personnel around to help out. A manual patient lift uses slings to lift the patient after positioning the slings under their posterior and legs, and move them securely to a bed, chair or bath. The electric and hydraulic version does the same thing, but can be handled more easily through a single control by one person, and will also allow for more attention to be paid to the patient during the transfer.
There are many different types of slings available for use, and each one was created for a different purpose. The all-purpose sling is generally made of high quality brushed nylon, for the best patient comfort possible. When using nylon slings, the seams should be always placed to outside, away from the patient’s skin, so that there is no abrasion against the skin, ever. Especially when performing safe lifting solo procedures in conjunction with a gait belt. Abrasions will cause unnecessary pain, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Other types of slings available also include toilet and hygienic slings. A toilet sling is made with removable inserts so that incontinence pads or toilet transfers can be done with minimal discomfort on the part of the patient. Hygienic slings are made for manual transfers to the bath, with minimal discomfort or embarrassment to the patient by having to remove and then replace the slings each time cleansing is necessary. There are also slings available for use with wheelchairs that are padded for the patient’s comfort and safety, and can be custom-fit for ease of use by anyone.
Care should always be taken when making any transfer from chair to bed or bath. Double-check every strap to make sure it is secure before attempting any move, as well as making sure the patient is comfortable and ready for the move.
Looking for a safe way to assist a loved one when they need it, whenever they need it? Our highly experienced staff at Mobility Specialists will help you explore your options in patient lift slings and advise you on the best and safest way to transfer in and out of any situation.