What Is A Hoist In Healthcare

Portable Patient Hoist

In healthcare institutes, many pieces of equipment are used to assist patients with limited mobility. One such useful device is a hoist that helps to transfer a person from bed to chair. But many people are not aware of this equipment and mostly ask “What is a hoist”. 

To answer your question I am here to give detailed information on hoist and how it functions. Further, we explore its various types. How is it beneficial to address your concerns about transferring an individual? Let’s get on it. 

What Is a Hoist And How It Helps?

A hoist, also known as a patient lift, is a mechanical device that is used to transfer a disabled person from one location to another. It has a sturdy frame made of aluminum or steel to support heavy-weight individuals with a lifting mechanism and various attachments such as a sling and harness.

Read Also: How to Use A Hoist

The lifting system of the hoist can be manual, electric, or hydraulic depending on what you choose. However, you can operate the manual one using cranks or levers while the electric and hydraulic are motor-operated. It completely depends on your needs and what kind of hoist suits you. 

A hoist helps you lift the patients who can not walk or sit and stand without external help. It is quite helpful for individuals with back injuries to avoid strain on the body. It allows medical staff or carer to take the patient out from the bed and also helps to transfer them from bed to chair and vice versa. 

Further, it makes bathing and moving effortless for both the patient and the carer. Ultimately it significantly reduces the risk of injuries and discomfort during the moving process and improves the quality of life of the patient.

Hoists are primarily used in hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. However, a well-trained carer and professional can handle this device to avoid any accidents or problems during the patient’s elevation and transfer process. 

Types of Hoists

There are several types of hoists available in the market, each designed to meet specific patient needs and preferences. The most common types of hoists include:

1. Ceiling Hoists Or Overhead Hoists

Ceiling hoists, also known as overhead hoists, are installed on a track system mounted to the ceiling. Hoists motor transverses through the track installed on the roof. The hoist unit is attached to a spreader bar or sling, which supports the patient during the transfer

Additionally, the track switches are turnable and installed on it to help the person change directions and move from one track to another. They offer a convenient and space-saving solution for transferring individuals within a room or between different rooms. 

In ceiling hoists, all the equipment is hung from the ceiling, and free floor space for easy moving around. It is always accessible for you whenever you want to lift and transfer the patient which saves time and resources. 

Overhead hoists are typically used in hospitals and long-term care facilities, where transfers are frequent and require minimal effort from the caregiver.

They provide smooth and controlled transfers, reducing the risk of strain or injury to the patient. It also helps you to prevent the problem that you face on a manual hoist while moving through the bumpy flooring and carpets and around the corners.

Ceiling hoists can be configured as either fixed or portable systems. Fixed ceiling hoists are permanently installed in a specific location, while portable ceiling hoists can be easily moved and reinstalled in different rooms as needed. The choice between fixed and portable ceiling hoists depends on the specific requirements of the environment and the frequency of transfers.

2. Mobile Hoists

Mobile hoists, also known as floor hoists or patient lifters, are freestanding devices that can be moved around and positioned near the patient. They consist of a wheeled base, a vertical mast, and a lifting mechanism. A harness or sling is suspended from the hoist arms.

You can carefully use this sling around the individual while in sitting and lying position. Then using the electric motor the person is vertically hoisted up in mobile hoists. Now you can easily wheel the patient to a new destination. 

Mobile hoists are suitable for transferring individuals in environments where ceiling hoists are not available or practical due to building structure.

Mobile hoists are versatile and can be used with different types of slings or harnesses to accommodate your transfer needs. They are relatively easy to operate and can be maneuvered into tight spaces or around obstacles. 

However, compared to ceiling hoists, mobile hoists may require more effort from the caregiver to maneuver and position the device correctly. But still, they are a useful option to use to avoid discomfort and injury. 

3. Sit-to-Stand Hoists

Sit-to-stand hoists, also known as stand aids or standing hoists, are specifically designed to assist individuals in transitioning from a sitting to a standing position. 

If you have some weight-bearing capacity but you require assistance and support to stand up then these hoists are useful for you. Sit-to-stand hoists are commonly used in rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and home care settings.

You can hold onto its handles and bars as a support when you want to stand. The lifting system helps you to rise to a standing position while maintaining your balance and stability.

Anyone with limited lower body strength or with balance issues can choose it because it supports them and allows them to participate in daily life activities without depending on others. 

Benefits of Using a Hoist

Using a hoist in healthcare centers offers numerous benefits for both patients and healthcare professionals. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Safety

Hoists are designed to provide a safe and secure method of transferring patients. The use of slings or harnesses reduces the risk of falls and injuries and provides support during the transfer process.

For your safety, they are equipped with safety features such as locking mechanisms and emergency stop buttons. Hoists are not only helpful for patients but they additionally reduce the risk of strain and injuries to the caregiver. 

2. Improved Mobility and Independence

When you are dealing with mobility problems it becomes difficult to move from one place to another. Our physical and mental health starts to be disturbed.

But the hoist enables you to move between different locations and helps you to regain your independence. 

You can easily move from bed to chair or vice versa to enjoy independence. Instead of overthinking and stressing in your bed, you can engage in activities outside in your surrounding environments.

You can transfer to a wheelchair from bed and then you can participate in social events and family gatherings. So, you are no longer a bedridden person. 

3. Reduced Physical Strain

You think a hoist is only useful for patients with limited mobility to regain independence and freedom. They are equally helpful for caregivers. Because they often face physical strains and fatigue when manually lifting or assisting patients during the transfer. 

So, this device can minimize the physical effort required to transfer and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in caregivers. Ultimately it allows the caregivers to provide better and more sustainable care to their loved ones or patients. 

4. Time Efficiency

Further, the hoist is time efficient because it streamlines the patient transfer process. It helps you to execute the transfer process quickly and efficiently and saves you time. Caregivers can also allocate their time more effectively, attending to other tasks and responsibilities.

5. Versatility and Adaptability

Hoists are available in various types and models, catering to different transfer needs and environments. From ceiling hoists for healthcare facilities to mobile hoists for home care settings, there is a hoist suitable for every situation. You can choose the one that fits your needs and preferences. 

Hoists can also be equipped with interchangeable slings or harnesses to accommodate individuals with different body types or specific support requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Are hoists safe to use for patients?

Yes, hoists are designed with safety features to ensure the safety of patients during transfers. However, a well-trained professional can handle it correctly while following proper lifting techniques.

Q2: Can hoists be used for bariatric patients?

Yes, there are hoists available specifically designed for bariatric patients. These hoists have a higher weight capacity to accommodate the needs of heavier individuals.

Q3: Are hoists easy to maneuver?

Yes, the hoists are designed to be user-friendly and easy to control and maneuver. Mobile hoists feature controls and wheels for smoother and more effortless transmission of patients. However, I suggest you have a little bit of training and a guide to avoid any accidents. 

Q4: Do hoists require regular maintenance?

Yes, hoists require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal functioning and longevity. Healthcare facilities must have maintenance protocols in place to inspect and service hoists regularly. It is beneficial for the safety of patients and hoist performance. 


So, now you have the answer to your question “What is a hoist”. It is a vital piece of healthcare equipment that is used to lift and transfer patients with mobility issues. You have read in the above article how beneficial it is for patients and caregivers. 

Hoists also come in various types to suit different patients’ needs and preferences. You and your patient can make an informed decision to select the most suitable hoist for your specific needs. Hoists not only enhance the quality of life for individuals with limited mobility but also alleviate physical strain and enhance caregiving capabilities.