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Information Regarding Hoists and Lifts for Persons with Disability

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-02-08 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-04) - Examines the types of patient hoists available when a lift and transfer is needed for seniors and people with a disability. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Christian Dunnage.

Main Document

Quote: "There are several hoisting systems available on the market and manufacturers worldwide are designing new hoists which make the lifting and transfer of patients an easier experience."

Care providers are faced with numerous challenges daily. A patient hoist is often required where there is a lift and transfer need.

For example to transfer a patient from a chair to a bed, into a bathtub or onto a toilet. Choosing a system designed with the carer and patient in mind is vital.

There are several hoisting systems available on the market and manufacturers worldwide are designing new hoists which make the lifting and transfer of patients an easier experience.

The question is: How do you choose which product is right for you

Lift and transfer products fall into 3 main types. Ceiling Lifts (sometimes called Overhead hoists), Floor Lifts (hoists) and Wall Lifts (hoists).

Overhead Hoists

There are two types of overhead hoist, ceiling fixed track and portable track. A ceiling track hoist consists of a piece of rail/track which is permanently attached to the ceiling. The track can be fitted to timber joists if available or chemical fixed into concrete ceilings. If for any reason the ceiling can't be used it may be possible to fasten the track to the wall.

With a ceiling fixed hoist there is less strain as no manual lifting is required. An overhead hoist uses no floor space, which eliminates storage concerns and provides a high lifting height from the floor. It is a versatile option which enables you to lift, reposition, weigh or help the user onto a toilet.

Full room access and to other rooms, through the door header is easily achievable and only 1 person (caregiver) is required to operate. Solo operation is also an option depending on the users abilities and the hoists can be mains or battery powered.

A ceiling fixed lift is easier to use than a floor lift, which can be difficult to maneuver if carpeting is an issue.

The following track configurations are available with ceiling hoists.

Straight Track, X-Y system or H Track, room to room track system, curves, Y junctions, turntables, gates, exchangers and portable tracks.

Mobile Floor Hoists

Floor hoists have been designed especially with the domestic care environment and patient in mind. Electric and hydraulic units are available. The following points include some of the benefits of having a portable floor hoist.

Floor lifts can be less expensive than ceiling lifts and are good for use in common care areas - as back-up to primary ceiling units. There is no track to install meaning no damage to your floor or walls and a lift from the floor is possible. This makes the floor hoist an excellent option for temporary use on holidays or for occasional visitor's.

Wall Lift Hoists

The wall lift has been designed especially for home use and features the following benefits.

It is inexpensive, versatile and easy to install. The lift can be made portable with the use of additional wall brackets and is particularly useful in bathrooms where space can be at a premium. The unit is supplied with a water resistant control handset, electronics and circuit board.

As you can see the patient lifting market can be quite confusing owing to the vast array of options and manufacturers. If you are considering the purchase of this type of equipment I would recommend contacting 3 or 4 companies to ensure that you buy the right product for your situation.

A good piece of advice is to speak to an independent adviser who deals with more than one manufacturer. This way the salesman is going to give you an honest appraisal of the best equipment for you and not have to try and persuade to buy the only brand that he can sell.

I would also strongly urge you to meet with an occupational therapist or physiotherapist with expertise in this area as it is vitally important that you get the right solution for the end user.

Reference: Christian Dunnage is a director of Dolphin Mobility Ltd, a UK based independent supplier of stair lifts, patient hoists< and mobility products -

Related Information:

  1. ADA Swimming Pool Lift Chair Compliance
  2. Ceiling Track Lift Systems for Seniors and People with Disability
  3. Wheelchair Stair Lifts

Information from our Disability Transfer Hoists & Stair Lifts Information section - (Full List).

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