Checklist for the correct and safe use of a patient lift

25 tips for caregivers and users...

 The use of a mechanical “patient lift” or lifting device for carrying out patient transfers has been part of the caregiver’s job for many years. Lifting patients on your own has long been recognized as dangerous. Even when using a lifting system, there are potential risks for both the caregiver and the person being lifted. That is why following a good guideline is very important.

The checklist below has been compiled based on research on incidents involving patient lifts, best practices and experiences in the field.

Before use of the patient lift:

  1. Have you received training and do you feel confident enough to use the material?
  2. Is there a protocol including the type of sling, which loops...
  3. Have you tested the patient lift? (up & down, forward & backward ...)
  4. Do you know where and how the emergency down works?
  5. Has the patient lift been inspected in the last 12 months?
  6. Is the sling clean and undamaged?
  7. Can the sling be used on the specific patient lift?
  8. Is the sling the correct size and type?
  9. Check the maximum load of both the person being lifted lift and the sling.
  10. Have you made clear to the person what is about to happen?
  11. Are there specific issues in the current condition of the person that can cause problems during lifting?

While using the patient lift:

  1. Do we have all the necessary material at hand?
  2. Is there enough space to manoeuver?
  3. Is the sling correctly positioned?
  4. Are the loops correctly and securely attached (to the same length on both sides)?
  5. Test whether the loops are attached effectively?
  6. Driving is done with the legs of the lift parallel (i.e. closed). The spread legs of the lift are used to get around a wheelchair or seat.
  7. Does the person being lifted give a comfortable and safe impression?
  8. Lift until the loops are under tension.
  9. Make sure the mobile lift system brakes are NOT engaged.
  10. Hold the person at eye level or slightly lower. This is pleasant for the user.

After using the patient lift:

  1. Check the patient’s position and comfort before removing the sling.
  2. Are you sure the person is in a safe situation?
  3. Does the sling/patient lift need to be cleaned?
  4. Put the lift back at its place and charge the lift if necessary.


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