The use of hoists and slings is an integral part of delivering health and social care services in the UK. The benefits of using mobile hoists can outweigh the risks associated with lifting people when residents are given a care risk assessment and have a robust hoisting plan in place.
Take a look at the top 5 benefits of using mobile hoists in a care home.
Using a mobile hoist is inherently safer than relying on a caregiver to help make transitions.
For the resident, there is less chance of slipping or having a fall when using a hoist to help lifting in and out of bed, or chair as opposed to more traditional lifting methods.
For the caregiver, musculoskeletal risks are dramatically reduced and incidents of pulled muscles are reported less and less.
One common objection raised by caregivers regarding the use of hoists is that they take too long to use. Carers often say that instead they prefer just to ‘lift the person themselves’. Often this is because the person using the hoist is unfamiliar with the equipment or because it is unsuitable for the task. This can normally be easily addressed by ensuring the provision of fit for purpose equipment plus thorough training and support in its use. The careful use of risk assessments and lifting plans, as well as helping residents understand the requirements of the lifting process, can ensure that incidents and accidents are greatly reduced.
The odds of falling are greatly minimised when staff are adequately and regularly trained in moving and handling. Targeted training for the use of hoists in care homes can drastically reduce incidents of injuries and make hoisting safe, beneficial and integral to care in our nursing homes.
Mobility issues can make it difficult for residents to move around freely. As a result, they are less likely to do so, or the amount of time they move around can be limited. This can have an effect on their mental health, self-esteem and self-awareness.
Mobile hoists make getting around much easier on the resident and the caregiver by allowing lifting into wheelchairs and day chairs, making it easier for them to be able to move around into different areas of the care home.
Mobile hoists are designed to help lift, or transfer residents from one spot to another. They can be used to move individuals in and out of bed, from a wheelchair to a bed, in and out of chairs and onto the toilet. They ease the load and make it easier for caregivers to provide the care needed.
Being lifted by other people is not comfortable and can be quite intrusive. Residents can be placed in awkward positions; it can be highly embarrassing with a loss of dignity and self-esteem. It’s not a good feeling being shifted around by others, especially as many older people bruise easily or may have sensitive skin, and being hurt is not something anyone wants to experience.
The use of a mobile hoist, with a person-centred lifting plan, can make movement more comfortable and more manageable for both resident and caregiver.
Using a correctly measured and sized sling which is suitable for the lift intended will make lifts less intrusive and more dignified and comfortable - not only for the resident, but for the caregiver as well.
Please see our separate blog post on the importance of correctly sized slings here.
When residents are reluctant to be lifted or are scared of falling, stress on the caregiver can be immense and can lead to bad posture for the caregiver, and possible injury to both themselves and the resident.
Talking to the all parties involved with the lifting process will allow for a lifting plan to be drawn up and shared to ensure that all caregivers know how to handle each individual.
Residents also need to understand the hoisting process and continually talking to them and reassuring them throughout will create a good lift and, when comfortable, the movement can be completed into a chair, wheelchair or bed.
Keeping residents talking, laughing and engaged with other residents, staff and visitors is vital. It is good for mental health, and increases both self-esteem and self-awareness. Coming together to eat meals in dining rooms can help to improve nutrition and hydration levels, as residents need the social aspect of mealtimes to stimulate themselves to eat and stay hydrated.
Playing games and activities are also good for residents and caregivers and, when together, residents will actively encourage each other to join in. This is fundamental to having lots of smiles, lots of laughter, good self-esteem and social skills.
Mobile hoists enable residents to be moved into a lounge and dining room by lifting from their bed into a wheelchair or day chair, and this can be life-changing for more self-isolated people.
Developing trust and rapport between the caregiver and the resident during the hoisting process will make it less of a chore and more of a benefit to allow the resident access to other parts of the home and to see friends and family outside in gardens and garden rooms.
Remember: the benefit of hoisting is to get residents involved more and integrated into activities, and large hoists can be intimidating so, if possible, use a smaller hoist to start the process.
Moving or helping to move a person with mobility issues can be extremely challenging and can place a lot of stress and strain on caregivers. A mobile hoist takes on the heavy lifting and provides great support to caregivers when helping residents out of bed, into a chair or into a wheelchair.
Ultimately the aim of using any manual handling equipment should be to reduce the risk of an injury to the lowest level possible.
There are smaller mobile hoists with narrower bases which are easier to move in more confined areas. These are less intimidating when people are first being introduced to a lifting plan. Larger hoists which can lift higher and have more capacity give more flexible hoisting in nursing home situations, with a range of residents and more space to work with.
Used correctly, the mobile hoist has many benefits for residents, caregivers and healthcare providers. Please click here to download our checklist on Top Tips for using a Hoist in a care home.
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