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How to use a Hoyer lift
How to use a Hoyer lift
Written by ESHYFT
Updated over a week ago

Written by Jodi Zielinski, RN

Patient lifts, or Hoyer lifts, are an essential part of many bedside healthcare workers’ jobs, and using one correctly to safely move a patient is of utmost importance.

Types of lifts vary, but the basic skills outlined below should pertain to most lifts on the market.

Explain the process

Talk to your patient and let them know what to expect before using a lift for the first time. Lifting can be scary for them, and they should be educated on how the Hoyer lift works and what to expect. Also, ensure that any questions they have about the process are answered.

Check your space

Be sure to check the surrounding areas before you move your patient to their destination. An area cluttered with cords or tripping hazards can cause the lift to get stuck on something or cause someone to become injured. Once the space is cleared you can begin setting up the Hoyer.

Check your lift

Give the Hoyer a once-over check. Make sure that the legs are even with the ground, and the wheels are moving freely and can lock and unlock easily. If the model has legs that spread apart, check to make sure that this feature is working properly. Check to see if the lifting device is working properly. Some Hoyer lifts are manual, and some are electric. If working with an electric lift, make sure the battery is charged, and that the handle or crank feature is moving easily.

Choose the correct sling

Understanding the different types of slings that can be used with a Hoyer lift is an important part of properly using it. Each type of sling is specific to its function. There is a Universal sling or U-sling, which is the most common. The shape of this sling, as its name indicates, is U-shaped. There are also full-body sling options that are rectangular and generally used for patients that require more back and neck/head support. Check the specific type of sling that you will be using and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions on appropriate use.

Check for defects

Once you have chosen the correct sling for the job make sure that it has no holes or rips and is not frayed in any way. Also, check the boom, to ensure it is properly attached to the swivel of the Hoyer lift and can move freely without obstruction.

Connecting the boom

Most slings will have several straps with color-coded loops that fit onto the boom. You will have to decide which ones to use depending on your patient and the destination. Lower the boom to the patient's mid-section and attach the loops to each side of the boom, ensuring that they are securely attached and will not slip off during the lifting process.

Manual lifting

You will need to find the pump handle at the base of the shaft. There may be a valve or small handle to turn to allow movement of the handle. Opening this up allows you to pump the handle to raise the patient as well as lower the patient to the desired location. Use a gentle pumping motion to allow for a smooth lift and avoid jerking the patient in the sling.

Electric power lifting

Some lifts have a remote to use to lift and lower the boom, if not there is always a control panel on the lift to operate it as well. Most electric Hoyer lifts have an emergency manual lowering button in case the battery dies or there is a power outage during transfer, make sure to know where this is before using the lift.

Transfer the patient

Once the patient is lifted to an adequate height, move them to the desired location. Unlock the lift, if applicable, and while one person ensures the patient is secure, the other can move the lift freely to the destination. Set up the location before moving the patient to make the transfer efficient. After the patient is safely above the chair or bed you can lower them into position, remove the sling, or if unable to do so, make sure it is smooth and not causing any injury to skin.

Using Hoyer lifts for patient transfers is an important part of care. Following these tips can help make sure it’s done safely and efficiently in any facility or home.

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