Sling Styles and Their Uses
Once you have a patient lift, there are any number of choices available for the sling that go with them. Basically, you are looking at different types of slings for different uses and for different levels of patient care. Most modern lifts have hooks on the cradle that are used with slings that have straps or loops to attach them instead of the old style chain attachments, so in this article that is the type of attachments we are going to talk about.
Full-body slings are made with a solid piece of fabric that fits completely under the patient’s body from behind the knees to behind the head. On each of the four corners there is a reinforced fabric strap that goes onto the hooks on the lift cradle. If the patient is able to sit on a commode, you can order full body slings with a commode opening, or hole to allow for toileting while sitting in the sling. They come in lots of fabric choices also, from softly padded slings for patients with fragile skin, to plastic mesh slings that can go right in the shower or swimming pool. Since a full Body Sling goes completely under the body, getting these slings under a bed patient requires the same technique as you’d use to change a bottom sheet with the patient in bed. If they are up in a chair during the day, most people leave the sling in place under them.
Toileting or bathing slings do not provide the complete support as a full body sling. They are usually U shaped, with support behind the back, around the hips, and then have two longer pieces that crisscross under the patient’s thigh area and hook to the cradle on the opposite side. That makes it much easier to get the sling on and off of a patient who is either lying down or sitting up in a chair. They still come in various fabrics, are washable and give lots better access for hygiene. You are able to remove the sling from under your patient easily, so the sling doesn’t always have to be there under them, which is more comfortable for most people.
Lots of specialized slings are made for special circumstances and needs and we are sure to have great suggestions for you. To discuss you particular situation, call one of our Patient Lift Specialists at 1-800-850-0335.