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Different Types Of Slings For Patient Lifts - Shop Home Med

Different Types Of Slings For Patient Lifts

Recently we wrote a post describing the different types of patient lifts, patient lift hydraulic, patient lift electric, portable lifts, and stand-still lifts, and their uses. 

This is only one side of the coin. Today, let's broach the topic of slings for lifts. For one unfamiliar with the sling market, the type of sling might not seem necessary, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There are multiple types of slings providing different usages, weight capacity, and benefits. 

 

So, here we go. 

 

What are lift slings for patients?  

Slings are the tool that patient lifts use to lift transfer a patient. They come in various styles and designs and are integral to ensuring a safe patient transfer. For a sling to be suitable, it needs to fit the patient correctly and be well paired with the patient lift that you are using.

There are four main categories of patient slings:

  • Universal Slings
  • Hammock Slings
  • U-Shape Slings¬†
  • Sit-to-Stand Back Straps
  • Disposable Slings

Each sling type is made slightly differently to accommodate its intended use best. The exact kind of sling that is right for you will depend on the style of transfers you will be doing.

 

Universal Sling

The Universal Sling is designed to fulfill various roles and offers a more general solution to patient lifting needs. This sling supports the back and pelvis areas for users with muscle or bone issues, and there is also padded leg support underneath the legs to ensure they are fully supported. 

Important to mention that there is no 'one size fits all' patient sling. While the Universal Sling is multi-purpose, it cannot do every job, and perhaps most importantly, it cannot necessarily fit every hoist frame.

 

 

Hammock Sling

A hammock sling is explicitly designed for comfort as it is squared shaped, supporting the entire body, with the patient's arms inside the sling straps. The patient's legs, from the knee down, will hang outside the sling. This type of sling typically has a higher back, providing head support.

 

U-Shape Slings 

The U-Shape sling crosses under the patient's legs and is the easiest to use since it doesn't go under the patient's bottom. The sling is open at the bottom for efficient transfers from bed to toilet or wheelchair. They are often used for bathroom transfers, and that's why they are commonly called toilet slings or hygiene slings. The caregiver will fit the sling while the patient is lying down, and it can be left under the patient while using the toilet. They do not come standard with head support.

 

 

 

Sit-to-Stand Back Straps

This style of patient lift sling is for those who require assistance and support while using a sit-to-stand lift. It supports the middle and lower part of the body. It is for patients who can stand and bear their weight, and it is attached after they are in a standing position and before the lift is moved.

 

 

Disposable Slings

Disposable slings are ideal when a high level of hygiene is required. Disposable slings prevent cross-contamination and must be disposed of once soiled and cannot be laundered. Hospitals usually purchase disposable slings, but they can also be beneficial in homecare settings. Disposable slings have drawbacks; over time, they will be more costly than reusable slings.


Types of Sling Materials

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing the suitable sling material, a patient's weight, stability, muscle tone, and place of transfer.

  • Mesh: Easy to clean, dries quickly, and great for use in the bathroom with commode or bathing slings. Suitable for patients who have the potential to get wet.
  • Polyester: Durable, easy to clean, breathable, washable, and practical in wet or dry environments. Suitable for heavy-duty institutional use as they are easy to keep clean, eliminating cross contamination and fostering a healthy environment.
  • Padded: Extra padding for comfort. Suitable for patients with sensitive skin or issues like pressure ulcers.

     

    Patient Lift Sling Sizing Chart

     

     

    For more information how to use sling hoist, the best patient lifts for home use, and hospital patient lifting equipment, see the FDA Patient Lift Safety Guide here.

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