How to Use a Patient Lift

Photo of a patient lift

Using your equipment:

  • Before lifting patient, spread base legs fully outward with lever next to mast.
  • Adjust sling straps or chains to proper height.
  • Slide into position near patient being careful of swinging hanger.
  • Once patient is in the sling, lift just enough to clear surface and allow swivel.

To accommodate sling to patient (patient lying down):

  • Roll patient away from you.
  • Lay sling (patient side up) on surface where patient was lying
  • Adjust position of the sling to line up with patient's buttocks and torso.
  • Roll patient back to lying position over sling.
  • Roll lift into place, and then lower boom to attach straps or chains to sling.

Frequent replacement items:

  • Sling may need to be replaced after extensive use.


  • Cleaning of sling and double-checking of chains is recommended.
  • Wash slings per manufacturer's instructions.

Special Procedures:

  • Lifting from a seated position
    • Stand in front of a chair facing the patient.
    • Lean patient forward so your body supports their weight.
    • Hold sling by top. Allow remainder of sling material to drop behind patient to the seat of the chair.
    • To position the sling material under the patient's buttocks:
      • Lean patient to one side.
      • Reach underneath the patient's raised buttocks.
      • Firmly grasp sling material and pull toward patient's leg.
      • Repeat for other leg by switching the patient to lean in the opposite direction.
      • Once sling is properly positioned, roll lift into position and attach chains or straps.
  • Lifting from floor
    • Repeat as for patient lying in bed.
    • Lower lift boom to lowest position to attach chains/straps to sling.
    • Follow lifting instructions above.

Safety Issues:

  • Before Use
    • Make sure patient's head is clear of hanger at all times.
    • Only raise boom high enough for patient in sling to clear the "transfer from" surface.
    • Make sure all parts of lift are properly secured.
    • Adjust chains or straps and sling prior to allowing patient to be lifted.
    • Spread legs of lift base to ensure maximum stability.
  • When raising patient weight
    • Ensure that release is locked into "lift" position.
    • Check for pinch points on patient where the sling makes weight-bearing contact. Do this before rolling the lift away from the "transfer from" surface.
    • When moving lift (occupied) push slowly and smoothly towards "transfer to" surface.