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Use of a ceiling hoist to lift a person from bed to chair - SWI 005 2013


This information is a guide only for use by non-government organisations and service providers as a training tool (supplementary to training) and is not intended as medical or professional advice. Users must seek appropriate medical or professional service. The State Government of South Australia accepts no responsibility for the suitability or completeness of the information and expressly disclaims all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any of the information.

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Stop, Think, Assess, Review

Stop before you begin, you must review the support plan of the client being assisted.

Think about the task, any equipment needed and the readiness of the client. Think about other options if this task cannot be done safely.

Assess the client by watching/talking to them to see if they are willing and able to participate in the task.

Review other options available if client not ready for task. Talk to supervisor/manager about other options.

Potential hazards

  1. Client injury from pinching skin with sling or from fall from hoist or hoist malfunction.
  2. Cross infection to client from sling.
  3. Muscular soft-tissue or skeletal injury to workers from incorrect movement or posture.

Safety provisions

To prevent risk of injury to workers or clients during this manual task:

a. Follow all steps of this Safe Work Instruction (SWI).
b. Minimum of 2 workers for this task.
c. Check there is enough space to move hoist along ceiling track at every step of task, remove any obstacles or tripping hazards.
d. Always move in same direction as hoist when walking with it, do not twist.
e. Only use client's sling, making sure it is clean, instructions on it readable and is the correct sling for the task. This instruction uses a full body sling as the example.
f. Communicate with client and other workers at every step of this task.


Set up

  1. Make sure you know how to operate all controls of the specific Hoist. If unsure, review Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this hoist. Report immediately if SOP not available.
  2. Check the hoist is plugged in, turned on and in good condition. Check extendable strap is not twisted. If any faults, report immediately and do not use.
  3. Check the hoist (hooks, spreader bar) and sling for signs of wear or damage. If any faults, report immediately and do not use.
  4. Refer to client's support plan for specific information.
Illustration of a ceiling hoist


  1. Prepare hoist and sling.
  • Make sure hoist is ready for operation.
  • Get client's sling, making sure it is the correct one for the task.

  1. Assist client to roll to side and set the sling in place.
  • One worker on each side of bed, unless otherwise indicated in client's support plan.
  • Prepare client's arm and leg ready for roll (refer to SWI for Rolling and Repositioning).
  • Workers position hands, using pushing/pulling motion to gently roll client on to side.
2. Put client's leg in position for roll

  1. Place sling centrally beneath client.
  • When client is on their side, place sling along back, make sure pelvic opening is level with middle of buttocks (applies to full body sling only).
  • Assist client to roll to opposite side, then release and spread out sling into position.
3. Staff position hands to commence roll

  1. Prepare sling for attachment to ceiling hoist.
  • Pass leg straps underneath thighs and cross to opposite side.
4. Roll client onto side

  1. Position the hoist and lower the spreader bar.
  • Bring hoist along ceiling track until directly over client.
  • One worker lowers spreader bar using hoist controls.
  • Workers on either side guide spreader bar into position, keeping parts away from client's head.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Attach the sling.
  • Attach one loop from each strap to hooks on the spreader bar (refer to client's support plan for correct loops to use).
2. Put client's leg in position for roll

  1. Raise client with ceiling hoist and sling.
  • First worker raises sling using hoist controls, watching that sling loops are in place.
  • Second worker watches and reassures client, supporting the client's head if required.
  • If client looks uncomfortable or unbalanced, lower sling and reposition.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Move client with ceiling hoist.
  • When client is clear above bed, activate hoist to move them away from bed.
  • Second worker assists to guide client as needed.
  • Slowly push client in sling to new location, move with direction of hoist, and do not twist.
  • Again, make sure the area is free of hazards.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Position client over wheelchair or chair.
  • Operator brings hoist into position.
  • Second worker supports then pivots client in sling, so they are correctly above the chair and ready to be lowered.
  • Workers to do task in a slow, careful manner.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Lower client with portable hoist.
  • Second worker gets into position to side or behind client.
  • If using a commode chair or wheelchair, make sure brakes are on.
  • Worker operating hoist uses controls to lower client.
  • Both workers guide sling so that client is positioned to back of chair, making sure not to take any weight.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Release sling loops and remove hoist.
  • Make sure client is safe before removing equipment.
  • Unhook sling when it is relaxed; keep control of spreader bar to avoid hitting client.
5. Stabilise client


  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure client is comfortable and secure.
  • Put ceiling hoist away at start of track, with control secure.
  • Place all other equipment in correct storage areas.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.

Attribution: Department of Human Services, the Government of South Australia, "Use of a ceiling hoist to lift a person from bed to chair - SWI 005 2013", Sourced on 23rd Oct 2021, ('

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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