A sling is an item that, when used in conjunction with a mechanical lift, helps to facilitate the transfer of an individual who is mobility-challenged. A sling is comprised of a specially designed and constructed piece of fabric that is placed under and around its user, and then attached by hooks, clips, straps, chains, or loops to the appropriate part of the lift mechanism in order to raise, move, and/or lower the person in it. A sling lift allows patients to be transferred safely while decreasing the risk of injury to the caregiver.
There are many different types of slings that can be attached to different types of lifts, such as floor lifts and overhead lifts, in order to accomplish different tasks. So when choosing a sling, it is necessary to establish its compatibility with the lifting system to which it will be attached, how it will be used, and the frequency of the transfer task desired. For example, a sling that is to be used for toileting will require a commode opening, while bariatric slings are designed for very heavy people.
Some basic types of slings are the Universal Sling and the Hammock Sling. The Universal Sling is also known as the “Quick Fit Sling” due to the ease of application, or the “Horseshoe Style Sling” due to the large horseshoe shaped opening created by the leg straps. The Hammock Sling design is also known as the “Split Leg Style” sling due to its small “L-Shaped” leg straps. The Hammock Sling is acknowledged by professionals as one of the most comfortable and supportive sling for both home and institutional use.
Some specialized kinds of slings are walking slings, standing slings, amputee slings, quadriplegic slings (contain additional head support), showering slings, re-positioning slings (for turning or sliding patients in bed), disposable slings (for enhanced infection control), and stretcher slings (for supine transfer).
Just as it is important for the sling to fit the task it is intended to accomplish, it must also precisely fit its user. Having the correct-sized sling ensures that the person being lifted feels safe and comfortable. Thus, a professional assessment of the user’s size, weight, and medical condition is absolutely necessary. In addition, the user’s caregiver must feel confident that he or she can safely employ the sling and the lift to which it is attached. Some slings are more complicated than others and a caregiver may be reluctant to use a sling if the process of fitting it is too complex. Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants often receive specialized training in order to use slings and lifts safely and effectively.
A sling is made of fabric, and as such, it can wear out or get torn. Because a sling failure can have catastrophic consequences, the condition and integrity of a sling should be visually inspected prior to each and every use. Possible factors affecting the condition and lifespan of a sling include: client weight, frequency of use, frequency of laundering, washing and drying methods, washing and drying temperature, detergent used, disinfectant used, and any misuse it has experienced.
Choosing the right type and size of sling is crucial for the health and safety of its user and his or her caregiver. The professionals at Pacific Mobility can help you understand how different slings work and which one may be your most appropriate choice. Call or visit us for a free consultation.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)
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