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How to Choose the Right Sling for Your Patients

Written by: Michael Fragala, PhD, MBA, RN, WCC, CSPHP, AMS

As a skilled healthcare provider, one of the most important decisions you must make is choosing the right sling for your patients. Selecting the correct sling can make all the difference in providing optimum care and comfort to those requiring lifting and transferring assistance. With so many options available on the market today, how do you know which one is best suited to your particular needs?

Here’s some insight into how to choose the right sling when transferring patients.

Understanding the Different Types of Slings: What to Consider

When finding the right sling for a patient, size and usage are just the beginning. It’s important to factor in multiple considerations — from body type and medical needs to support levels and positioning requirements. Here are some factors that influence how to choose the right sling:

Mobility Evaluation: Starting with a mobility evaluation ensures a safe, secure experience during transfer. Confirm the sling’s compatibility with the lift and the patient’s level of mobility. Knowing the patient’s activity level, recent changes in physical health, range of motion, and comfort levels will help you ensure they have an optimal experience during movement.

Determine Transfer Task(s): Consider the type of transfer task(s) required and how often these will occur. For example, when providing toileting support, it’s important to consider any unique equipment needs. A sling might need an additional aperture that fits specifically with commode chairs.

Sling Support Levels: Slings come in various styles and materials and provide different levels of support based on the needs of the patient being lifted The support level is determined by the shape and structure of the fabric.

Caregiver Level of Experience: When selecting a sling for patient care, it’s essential to consider the experience and training of caregivers. While some slings may be simpler than others in terms of fitting technique, complexity can result in hesitation when it becomes time to put them into use. Careful consideration should also be given to the number of healthcare providers associated with the patient’s care process to determine their capacity.

Assess for Additional Needs: Identity any additional equipment needs to make sure the lift and sling will work effectively with these items.

How to Choose the Right Sling for the Right Task

Finding the right sling for a job can be overwhelming. To simplify this search, we’ve created an easy-to-follow chart to help you select the best type of sling for your task. While there may be some exceptions from time to time, this visual guide is a good place to start


How to Measure Your Patient for the Perfect Fit

Knowing your patient’s physical support needs and body measurements is key when choosing a sling. Generally, measuring the torso, seated width, leg length, and assessor-to-patient reach will give you a better understanding of which sling to choose. Your patient’s weight and height measurements must be current and based on actual patient measurements.

It’s important to consider physical deformities that may limit their ability to comfortably use an appropriate sling — with limb amputations being one example. In addition, patient size and medical device needs can alter how well a given sling fits.

Final Thoughts: How to Choose the Right Sling for Patients

When it comes to choosing the right sling for your patients, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind. Consider the patient’s individual needs and preferences. Think about task type and frequency. And finally, make sure you choose a reputable brand that offers quality products.

By following these simple tips, you can be sure you’re making the best possible decision for your patients.

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