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Things to think about when using a mobile hoist

Your child is precious, and so are you. As they grow bigger and older their needs change. Using a hoist and sling to help them move is a safe, comfortable and dignified alternative to lifting for you both. Here are some steps to consider when using a hoist and sling to transfer (help move) your child.


Please note that this information does not replace face to face training.

What do I need to check before I start?

  • Does the hoist work – does it go up and down, does it move backwards and forwards, and do the legs open and close for a mobile hoist?
  • Is the sling undamaged? Check the stitching and fabric for fraying.
  • Have you got everything you need for the task, for example towels and personal care items? Never leave anyone unattended during a transfer.
  • Is the environment as clear as possible?
  • Are the things your child is transferring out of and into close to each other?

How do I fit the sling?

See the instruction manual provided with your sling for further details.

What should I check when I attach the sling to the hoist?

  • Check the sling is in the right place, and the straps are smooth under your child’s legs.
  • If using a mobile hoist make sure the brakes are not on.
  • Bring the spreader bar into position above your child’s pelvis, taking care to make sure your child does not come into contact with the spreader bar as you fit the loops.
  • Make sure the tape from the hoist is straight, this will avoid your child swinging as they are hoisted up.
  • Attach the loops to the spreader bar as detailed in the hoist handling plan. Remove any pelvic strap after the loops are attached.
  • Do a ‘tug’ test – pull on the straps before lifting to make sure they are securely in place.

Tips for transfer

  • If using a mobile hoist, widen the legs as much as your environment allows.
  • Hoist up until the straps are in tension and your child’s bottom is off the surface and check they are safe and comfortable. If not, lower and reposition the sling before continuing.
  • If using a mobile hoist keep your child as low as possible and only as high as needed to clear equipment. This keeps their centre of gravity lower, therefore keeping them more stable.
  • Make sure your child does not hit any obstacles or the hoist with their limbs as they are transferred.
  • When moving the mobile hoist face the direction of movement, and never move it sideways. Use a three point turn rather than sideways movement if needed.
  • Never use the brakes of a mobile hoist during a transfer.

Tips for positioning your child

  • If entering a chair, tilt the seat. This allows you to gently slide your child down the backrest of the chair so their bottom will be well positioned at the back of the seat.
  • When lowered fasten the pelvic strap to keep your child safely in position.
  • Taking care to keep the spreader bar away from your child’s face, remove the straps from the spreader bar, then remove the hoist.

Look out for…

  • If your child grows or loses weight, and the sling looks too small or if the opening looks too big, do not use the sling and contact your occupational therapist.
  • Check the sling regularly for fraying fabric or stitching, and contact your occupational therapist if you spot any problems.
  • Avoid using a mobile hoist over long distances or difficult surfaces, for example thick carpets, or over door thresholds and changes in floor surfaces. They are only for use on level ground.
  • Make sure you follow the washing instructions on the sling, including using the correct detergent to avoid damaging the fabric and stitching.
  • If the sling stays in position underneath your child tuck the loops away safely.

If you have any queries please contact your occupational therapist. Here are the contact details:

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: OT21

Resource Type: Article

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