How to Use A Hoist

Portable Patient Hoist

The hoist is useful equipment for transferring patients who are unable to stand and walk independently. So, knowing the use of a hoist is not only a useful skill for the carer but also for the patient. 

Whether you are a healthcare professional or a caregiver, knowing how to use a hoist medical equipment is essential for providing safe and efficient patient transfers between beds, chairs, and other surfaces. 

If you don’t know how to properly use a hoist then no worries. Because I will guide you through the step-by-step process of using a hoist.

Precautions and Safety Measures Before Using A Hoist

Before using a hoist, it is crucial to ensure that both the equipment and the environment are prepared for a safe and efficient transfer. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Check the hoist for any visible signs of damage or wear. Carefully inspect all components such as the sling, spreader bar, and straps, and make sure they are in good condition for the safe transfer of the patient. Also see sling material, type, and size are appropriate. If you see any wear or tear or damaged components then avoid using that hoist because it can result in accidental fall.
  • You know the hoists are used for the transfer of patients with different diseases other than injuries. Some of them are victims of some viral disease. So, it is always recommended to clean and sanitize the hoist to control the of transfer viral germs to other patients. 
  • Now you have to look around in the surrounding environments and see if there are any potential hazards such as obstacles on the floor and congested space for maneuvering the hoist. If you are using the mobile hoists then look for the floor if it is wet or slippery. If you notice any of them then first of all deal with them to avoid problems and accidents during the moving process. 
  • Always position the hoist in an accessible and convenient location for more stability and security. Don’t forget to lock the mobile hoist wheels to prevent movements during the lifting process. 
  • Lastly, see the batteries are charged. Because you can fall short of power during the lifting and transferring process if the batteries are low on charge. Make sure you charge them before using the hoist. 

How to Use A Hoist for Lifting And Transfer Process of Patient

Below is detailed information with the breakdown of steps to transfer a patient using a mobile hoist or ceiling hoist with a sling. You can follow step after step to shift the patient from one location to another. 

1. Selecting the Appropriate Sling

Choosing the right sling is crucial for ensuring the comfort and safety of the patient during the transfer. Slings come in various designs and sizes, each suited for different types of transfers and patient needs. Here are the steps to follow when selecting a sling:

  • Assess the patient’s physical condition and mobility limitations. Consider factors such as weight, body shape, and any specific medical conditions that may affect the choice of sling.
  • Determine the type of transfer to be performed. Different slings are designed for specific transfers, such as seated, standing, or supine transfers.
  • Measure the patient’s body dimensions, including their height, hip circumference, and thigh length. Use these measurements to select the appropriate size of the sling.

It is crucial to determine the above considerations before choosing the sling. After analyzing make the final choice of sling. 

2. Applying the Sling

Once the appropriate sling has been selected, it’s time to apply it to the patient. Proper sling application is essential for ensuring a secure and comfortable transfer. Follow these steps:

  • Position the patient in a stable and comfortable position, such as sitting on the edge of the bed or in a wheelchair. The patient’s clothing should not interfere with the sling connection.
  • Orient the sling correctly, ensuring that the labels and markings are facing outward. And before putting hoists slings on the patients it is crucial to correctly align the straps corresponding to the person’s body parts. I mean shoulder straps should be near to upper body area while the legs must align to the lower body parts of the person who is being transferred to avoid the wrong connection and wear of harness. 
  • After properly aligning the straps, gently slide the sling behind the patient’s back. Look if it is correctly positioned and covers the entire back area. Additionally, secure the head support to prevent any risk of head injuries due to falls.
  • Fasten the leg and shoulder straps securely, ensuring a snug fit without causing discomfort or constriction. Adjust the straps as needed to achieve proper support and weight distribution.

3. Operating the Hoist

With the hoist prepared and the sling properly applied, it’s time to perform the transfer. Follow these steps to operate the hoist effectively and safely:

  • First of all, set the position of the hoist. You will have to position it directly above the patient. Also, see if the spreader bar or boom arm is aligned with aligned attachment points. 
  • Don’t forget to engage the hoist’s locking mechanism to prevent unintentional movement during the transfer.
  • You can activate the lifting mechanism using hoist controls or buttons. Now begin lifting the patient slowly and smoothly while observing the patient to know whether the sling is properly attached and secure during the process. 
  • Being an expert hoist operator I can suggest you communicate with the patient during the transfer. It will help for patient comfort as well as for safe and smooth transfer. Further, you can encourage the patient to maintain a relaxed posture and keep their limbs inside the sling.
  • After lifting the patient you can maneuver the hoist to the desired location. Move it carefully around the corners and through the tight spaces. You need to use the maneuvering controls carefully while navigating through such pathways. 
  • Once the transfer is complete, gently lower the patient onto the target surface, such as a bed or chair. Communicate with the patient to know if he/she is in a comfortable and stable position before releasing the sling.  
  • Detach the sling from the hoist, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Store the sling in a clean and designated area for future use.

Tips For Mobile Hoist

The operation and use instructions for the mobile hoists or any other hoist are the same as written in the above steps. However, there are a few tips in case you are using a mobile hoist. 

  • Avoid Long Distance Travel: Mobile hoists are useful devices for shorter or short-range transfers. They are not good sources for transferring a patient over a long distance. For long-distance, you should use a wheelchair or ceiling hoist. 
  • Store The Hoist Properly: You should need to store the mobile hoist in a safe and secure place after using it. Having a wall socket near the storage space is a plus for charging the hoist. 

Uses Of Hoists in the Healthcare Setting

Hoists are an integral part of patient care in healthcare settings. They are used in various situations, including:

  1. Transferring Patients: Hoists are primarily used for transferring patients from one surface to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair or from a wheelchair to a bath. Healthcare professionals first analyze the patient’s mobility and determine the appropriate hoist and lifting technique for a safe transfer.
  2. Rehabilitation: Hoists play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process. They are used to assist patients in standing, walking, or performing exercises under the guidance of physiotherapists or occupational therapists.
  3. Wound Care: Patients with wounds or pressure ulcers may require regular repositioning to relieve pressure and promote healing. Hoists are used to transfer these patients to different positions, reducing the risk of further complications.
  4. Palliative Care: In palliative care centers, hoists are used to provide comfort and support to patients with limited mobility. It can be used to reposition the patient, provide personal care, and ensure their overall well-being.
  5. Emergency Situations: Hoists are also used in emergencies where patients need to be quickly and safely transferred for medical intervention. They allow for efficient and controlled transfers, minimizing the risk of aggravating the patient’s condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can a hoist be used for all types of patient transfers?

There are versatile types of hoist devices available to use for various types of patient transfers. However, it is essential to select the appropriate size after determining the person’s weight and body type.

It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe and effective transfer of person. 

Q2. Are there weight limitations for hoist medical equipment?

Yes, hoists have a specific weight range. You should check the weight capacity of the hoist before using it for a bariatric person. Otherwise, you can use heavy-weight capacity slings.

Q3. What are the common safety measures to follow when using a hoist?

There are few common safety measures such as regular maintenance and inspection of the hoist. You need to use an appropriate weight-bearing sling according to the person’s weight and body type.

Having a clean and obstacle-free pathway while transferring a patient and having good communication with patients can make the process more smooth and convenient. 

Q4. Can hoists be used in home care settings?

You can use mobile hoists are designed for use in home care settings because they are flexible and easy to use for caregivers and patients. However, you need to make sure the environment is suitable for maneuvering a hoist.  


Using a hoist medical equipment requires proper preparation, knowledge of the equipment, and adherence to safety guidelines. You can follow the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide for safe and efficient patient transfers.

Remember to always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and seek appropriate training when using hoist medical equipment.