In the realm of patient care, especially for those with mobility challenges, caregivers consider a hoist an indispensable aid. These devices, known by various names such as patient lifts or medical lifts, serve in different healthcare settings. They provide crucial assistance to caregivers in lifting and transferring individuals who are unable to move independently. From ceiling hoists to mobile variants, each type of hoist offers unique benefits suited to different environments and needs.

What is a Hoist?

A hoist, also known as a patient hoist, patient lift, or a medical lift, assists caregivers in lifting and transferring patients who have mobility issues or are unable to move on their own. “These devices particularly benefit patients who have physical disabilities, are elderly, or are recovering from surgery or injury.

Patient hoists come in various designs and configurations, but they typically have a sling or harness attached to a mechanical or electric lifting mechanism. Caretakers often mount the lifting mechanism on wheels or a track system to facilitate movement and positioning of the patient.

Different Types Of Patient Hoist

Ceiling Hoists

Ceiling hoists, also known as overhead hoists or ceiling track hoists, utilise a track system mounted to the ceiling. These hoists are designed to move along the track. This feature provides a versatile and efficient means of transferring patients within a room or between rooms. Healthcare facilities often use ceiling hoists where frequent patient transfers are required, as well as in home care settings. Moreover, these hoists offer the advantage of freeing up floor space and eliminating the need for manual pushing or pulling, reducing strain on caregivers.

Gantry Hoists

Gantry hoists consist of a freestanding frame with a horizontal beam or track mounted on top. They are portable and users can move them around as needed, making them suitable for settings where a fixed ceiling hoist may not be practical or available. Gantry hoists are commonly used in rehabilitation centers, workshops, and industrial settings for lifting heavy objects or patients. They offer versatility and flexibility in terms of positioning and can be easily adjusted to accommodate different lifting requirements.

Mobile Hoists

Mobile hoists, also known as floor hoists or portable hoists, allow for standalone operation as users move them across the floor to lift and transfer patients. They typically feature wheels or casters for easy maneuverability and can be operated manually or electrically. In home care settings, nursing homes, and hospitals, mobile hoists are commonly used where ceiling hoists or gantry hoists may not be installed. They offer flexibility and convenience, allowing caregivers to transfer patients between different locations without the need for permanent fixtures or infrastructure.

Each type of hoist has its own advantages and limitations. The choice of hoist will depend on factors such as the specific needs of the user, the setting in which it will be used, and budget considerations.

What Is A Hoist Used For?

Hoists are used in various settings to assist with patient lifting and transfer needs. Here are some common places where hoists are used:

Home Users

In private residences, hoists are commonly used by individuals with mobility limitations or disabilities and their caregivers. Home users may include elderly individuals who need assistance with transfers, individuals with physical disabilities, or those recovering from surgery or injury. In-home hoists support activities such as transferring from bed to wheelchair, moving around the home, and accessing bathroom facilities.

Care Homes

Hoists are often utilised in care homes, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care facilities, to assist with the care of residents. Hoists help caregivers safely transfer residents between beds, chairs, wheelchairs, and other surfaces. These are essential tools for maintaining the comfort, safety, and well-being of residents who have mobility limitations or require assistance with activities of daily living.

Healthcare and Social Care Settings

Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, and hospices extensively use hoists. They are essential equipment for healthcare professionals, enabling safe and efficient patient handling and transfer. In social care settings, such as day centers or community care facilities, caregivers may also use hoists to assist individuals with disabilities or special needs during activities and outings.

In all of these settings, hoists play a critical role in promoting mobility, independence, and quality of life for individuals who require assistance with transfers due to age, illness, injury, or disability. They help reduce the risk of injury to both patients and caregivers while facilitating smoother and more dignified care experiences.


Home Use of Hoists

In a home setting, individuals with mobility limitations, disabilities, or medical conditions use a hoist for several purposes to aid them. Here are some common uses of hoists in a home environment:

Assisting with Transfers

Hoists are used to transfer individuals between different surfaces within the home. This includes moving from a bed to a wheelchair, from a wheelchair to a chair, or from a chair to the toilet. This is particularly important for individuals who have difficulty standing or walking independently.

Aiding with Personal Care

Hoists assist caregivers in maneuvering individuals for personal care activities, such as bathing, toileting, and dressing. They provide support and stability during these tasks, ensuring safety and comfort for both the individual and the caregiver.

Promoting Independence

Hoists enable individuals with mobility limitations to maintain a level of independence by facilitating transfers without the need for constant assistance from caregivers. This can enhance the individual’s sense of dignity and autonomy within their own home.

Facilitating Rehabilitation

For individuals undergoing rehabilitation or physical therapy at home, hoists can be used to support them during exercises and mobility training. Hoists provide assistance and stability, allowing individuals to engage in therapeutic activities safely and effectively.

Providing Support for Caregivers

Using hoists reduces the physical strain on caregivers during lifting and transferring tasks. This helps prevent caregiver fatigue and injuries, enabling them to provide care more comfortably and effectively.


Hoists In Care Homes

In a care home or nursing facility, hoists serve several important purposes to aid in patient care and mobility. Some of the key uses of hoists in care homes include:

Assisting with Transfers

Hoists are commonly used to transfer patients between different surfaces such as beds, chairs, wheelchairs, and toilets. This is particularly crucial for patients who have limited mobility, are bedridden, or have difficulty standing and walking.

Ensuring Safety

Hoists help prevent injuries to both patients and caregivers during transfers. By providing a stable and controlled lifting mechanism, hoists reduce the risk of falls, strain, and other accidents. These accidents may occur when manually lifting or transferring patients.

Promoting Independence

Hoists enable patients with mobility limitations to maintain a level of independence by facilitating transfers without the need for constant assistance from caregivers. This can contribute to the patients’ sense of dignity and autonomy.

Aiding in Personal Care

Hoists are used to assist with various activities of daily living, including bathing, toileting, and dressing. They help caregivers safely and efficiently maneuver patients for personal care tasks, improving hygiene and comfort for the patients.

Facilitating Rehabilitation

For patients undergoing rehabilitation or physical therapy, hoists can be used to support them during exercises and mobility training. Hoists provide stability and assistance, allowing patients to engage in therapeutic activities safely and effectively.

Minimising Physical Strain

Using hoists reduces the physical strain on caregivers, particularly during repetitive lifting and transferring tasks. This helps prevent caregiver fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries, promoting their overall well-being.


In the journey towards inclusive care and enhanced quality of life, hoists emerge as indispensable allies. Their diverse types cater to varied needs, ensuring safe and dignified transfers for individuals with mobility limitations. Whether in homes, care facilities, or healthcare settings, hoists play a pivotal role in promoting independence, reducing risks, and facilitating smoother care experiences.

For enquiries about home adaptation solutions that includes hoists and their suitability for specific needs, don’t hesitate to contact EA Mobility at FREEPHONE 0808 2812665 or Empower mobility, enrich lives – with EA Mobility.