Mechanical lift transfer and safety

Mechanical lifts allow a resident to be lifted and transferred with minimal physical effort. Be sure to explain the procedure to the person who is being lifted. The full mechanical lift transfer should always have two people at all times during the transfer. Certain residents will need 3 people to help. Additional Personnel or other concerns may be needed.

Check the plan of care for transfer procedures. If a patient is a 1 or 2 person lift you can often, when the patient is worsened, downgrade the lift to a mechanical transfer without consulting a supervisor. When a patient is designated as a mechanical lift transfer, in most facilities, you cannot do a one or two person transfer without permission from a supervisor.

There are two primary types of slings used with a mechanical lift. A U-shaped sling and a full body sling.

With a full body sling the bottom of the sling should be placed at the fold of the knee or slightly lower to ensure proper fit of the full body swing throughout the day. Inspect the sling before placing it under the patient to make sure it is not damaged or overly worn. If the sling is damaged or overly worn, notify your charge nurse, administration or rehab, for a replacement.

When using a U-shaped sling you must always cross the lower body straps to ensure patient safety. Best placement of a U-shaped sling is low towards the sacrum with the back portion to ensure that when the lift is done the patient does not slip through the opening. When attaching the straps of the sling, position the patient in a more sitting position by using the shorter straps on the head part and the longer straps on the feet part. When starting the lift process, be sure to observe the patient for safety. This is the most important part of the lift, to monitor the patient for safety, ensure that they are properly fitting in the sling before moving them from the safety of the initial starting point.

Generally one helper should be operating the controls while the other helper remains with the resident helping with positioning. When transferring into a chair do not tilt the chair for proper positioning instead pull on the positioning strap on the sleeve and gently press the knees to ensure proper seating. whenever possible ensure that the base of the lift is in its widest position to prevent tipping.