How to Use a Hoyer Lift to Transfer a Patient

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A Hoyer Lift is a lifting device or hydraulic lift that is commonly used in nursing homes and other medical facilities to help transfer patients from beds to wheelchairs and back again. Special care and attention needs to be used when transferring any patient using a Hoyer Lift, as injuries and even death may result from improper techniques or use of the lift. The Hoyer Lift comes in different sizes and shapes, and each comes with a manual that designates weight capacity and guidelines for correct use. Before transferring anyone using a Hoyer Lift, it is strongly suggested that individuals receive adequate training.

Position the sling that comes with the Hoyer Lift beneath the patient to be transferred. In some cases, caregivers will be required to carefully roll the patient from side to side in order to position the sling properly. Make sure that the sling is evenly distributed, without wrinkles and is correctly positioned, the seam side of the sling away from the skin of the patient.

Move the Hoyer Lift so that the extended legs slide under the bed. The legs of the Hoyer Lift are able to open and close to faciliate wheelchairs. Slide the Hoyer legs under the bed until the swivel bar hook of the lift is directly over the patient's abdomen.

Attach the reinforced "O" rings in the sling straps that have been placed around the patient's legs first, connecting to the "S" hooks of the Hoyer Lift first. Make sure that the leg straps (if two are present) are positioned to prevent the patient from slipping out of the sling. Point the tips of the "S" hooks away from the patient's face for extra safety.

Attach the shortest web strap through the hole for the back and head support part of the sling, which will help make sure the patient will have neck and head support when lifted. Then, attach the web straps to the swivel bar.

Press the button that will engage the lift and slowly lift the patient, maintaining control of both the sling and the lift. The Hoyer Lift should always be used with two people. One person should be helping control movement of the patient while the other operates the lifting mechanism and opens the legs of the lift for optimal stability.

Avoid swinging the patient. Lift only high enough to clear the bed or chair and facilitate transfers. Remember, one person should always maintain control of the patient in the sling while the second person operates the lift. Once the patient is centered over a wheelchair or bed, lower the lift and then reverse the process used to place the sling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never leave a person sitting in a wheelchair or laying in bed on top of a sling. This can lead to chaffing, sores and skin breakdown.
  • Never, never, never use a two-person Hoyer Lift by yourself. Patients have slipped, tipped and fallen out of slings and have been seriously injured. Some have even died. Follow manual and healthcare facility instructions regarding the Hoyer Lift to the letter.

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