Chapter 3. Safer Patient Handling, Positioning, Transfers and Ambulation

3.8 Types of Patient Transfers: Transfers Using Mechanical Aids

Depending on the risk assessment, the healthcare worker may choose to use a mechanical aid to assist with transferring a patient. The following videos provide some general direction to do this. It is the nurse’s responsibility to be oriented to the equipment they are working with and always use it in a safe manner.

Watch the following videos (2018) by Kim Morris of Thompson Rivers University School of Nursing:

Sit to Stand Mechanical Assist

How to Use a Ceiling Lift

How to Use a Hammock Sling

How to Use a Hygiene Sling

Table 3.6 provides information about different kinds of slings used in the above videos.

Table 3.6: Choosing a Sling to Be Used with the Ceiling Lift

Type of Sling

Indications for Use

Universal slings
  • Can be applied while the client is sitting in a wheelchair.
  • Some universal slings are large enough to provide neck support.
  • Different loops allow the user to adjust the patient’s position (i.e., head up, flat, etc.).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use.
Hammock slings
  • Provide more support than a universal sling.
  • Fit from just above the knees to the back of the head, thus giving some neck support.
  • Cannot be taken off while the patient is in a wheelchair.
  • Different loops allow for adjustments to the angle that the user will sit during the transfer.
Hygiene slings
  • Intended to be used for transfers associated with toileting and cleaning.
  • Provide relatively little support, as they have less material than a universal or hammock sling.
  • Intended to provide patient support for a short time only.
Data source: Stewart, 2018
Special considerations:
  • All mechanical aids have weight restrictions. Check your agency equipment and guidelines.
  • All equipment has specific manufacturer’s guidelines for use. It is the agency’s responsibility to provide resources for orientation to all equipment and the healthcare worker’s responsibility to be oriented to the use of all equipment being used.

Critical Thinking Exercises

  1. In the following situations, provide rationale for your choice of type of sling when using a ceiling lift: (a) transfer to a shower chair; (b) transfer to a wheelchair.



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Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care Copyright © 2018 by Thompson Rivers University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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