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    Sling Assessments – Getting to grips with hoisting people

    18th September 2018

    Successful Transfers of patients

    When hoisting, choosing the correct sling is very important for a safe, and comfortable transfer.  A dedicated sling assessment is key to the success of hoisting.  The correct choice of sling design, size, and fabric is critical to ensure comfort and safety for the user. An inadequate sling assessment could result in an incorrect sling being specified leading to patient discomfort, or even worse injury.

    Factors to consider

    • How big is your patient? Are they a large or abnormal size? Are they apple shaped or pear shaped.
    • Skin integrity – do they have fragile skin, are they at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
    • Loss of limbs – do they have any amputation above or below the knee.
    • Use of the sling – Is it being used for bed to chair, chair to bed, bathing. Does it need to b used for lifting from the floor?
    • Fabric – standard polyester, in situ spacer fabric or suitable for bathing?
    • Compatibility with hoisting system – What hoist is in use, is it clip or loop attachments.

    Implications of incorrect sling specifications

    The consequence of using incorrect slings ranges from mild discomfort or indignity through tissue damage right up to even injury or fatality. Whilst nursing or care staff are responsible for the wellbeing of the patient, managers are also responsible to ensure the correct equipment, training and assessments are in place. Correct sling use, manual handling procedures and risk assessments are all essential to ensure successful outcomes from such transfers.

    Case Study (Taken from HSE website)

    “Mrs W had been resident in a nursing home for two years. She was unable to weight bear or move independently. While being hoisted from a bath by a new care assistant who had not received training, and had not used that particular type of hoist and sling before, Mrs W slipped from the sling and fractured her shoulder. She died as a result of a subsequent pneumonia infection. The hoist and sling used required active participation of the resident and was not suitable for Mrs W, or for hoisting from a bath. Risk assessments and procedures for manual handling and bathing had, in general, not been brought to the attention of care assistants and supervision was inadequate. The company was prosecuted and fined £90 000.”

    See further information on the HSE document by clicking on this link https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsis3.pdf

    How we can help

    A quality sling assessment and the correct equipment are key to the safety of your staff and patients, and at Multicare we have trained assessors available to carry out sling assessments and equipment prescriptions to help you in this critical area.

    At the sling assessment our assessor will

    • Ask lots of questions! This is vital to ensure that we fully understand the requirements of the user, the staff and others
    • Measure the client
    • Demonstrate samples
    • Discuss the options available
    • Following the assessment a full report will be sent with recommendations of the correct sling

    Sling Clinics for Schools

    Have you got a large number of pupils being hoisted?

    Why not book a sling clinic? One of our assessors will visit your site with a wide range of slings in different fabrics, styles and sizes enabling you to assess high number of pupils in a short time. Invite OT’s parents and carers along, and get them all on the same page about your pupils hoisting needs – call today to arrange.

    Contact us

    Contact us today on 0800 298 6000 or email sales@multicaremedical.co.uk for further assistance.

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