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How to Transfer Patients Using Joerns’ Hoyer Lifts

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

Safe patient handling is an essential consideration in any healthcare environment. It not only ensures the well-being of patients but also protects healthcare professionals from potential injuries. While there are many different types of patient lifts, Hoyer lifts have always been the industry standard for patient lifting and transferring. The term Hoyer lift is often used interchangeably to indicate a passive lift when, in fact, not all passive lifts are Hoyer lifts.   In this article, we guide healthcare professionals on how to safely transfer patients using passive lifts, often called a Hoyer lift. Joerns’ Healthcare is the only manufacturer of the Hoyer lift.

Importance of Safe Patient Transfer

Every year, numerous injuries occur due to improper patient transfers, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Improper transfers increase the risk of patient falls, potentially leading to serious injury, lower quality of life, and even shortening patients’ lifespans. Unsafe patient transfers can also impact healthcare providers, leading to strains and workplace injuries.

The injuries providers and patients can sustain while they transfer patients can lead to a decreased reputation for the clinical facility as well as increased costs and risk of litigation. Using reputable equipment for patient transfers, like Joerns’ Hoyer lifts, can significantly reduce the risks associated with patient transfers.

What are Hoyer Lifts?

Hoyer lifts are the original patient lifts, designed in 1953 by Ted Hoyer. These mechanical devices are designed to lift and transfer patients safely. The Hoyer lift is any lift manufactured by Joerns Healthcare, where a passive lift typically consists of a sling and a mechanical lift that can raise the sling. Hoyer lifts are typically used to move a patient from one place to another but can also be used to help reposition patients. Joerns is the only company that offers the Hoyer lifts, the reliable and effective choice for patient lifts that ensures patient comfort and safety during transfers.

Types of Joerns’ Hoyer Lifts

Joerns offers the full range of every Hoyer lift, designed to fit any facility’s needs and budget. Our Hoyer lifts include:

  • Hydraulic Lifts – These Hoyer lifts transfer patients using fluid pressure, allowing for safe, reliable lifting of large quantities of weight.
  • Electric Lifts – Powered by electricity, offering smooth and consistent lifts.
  • Stand-up Lifts – Designed to assist patients in standing up from a seated position.
  • Bariatric Lifts – Specifically designed for heavier patients, ensuring their safe transfer.
  • Ceiling Lifts – Designed for convenience, offer the benefits of multiple styles of lifts with higher safe working loads for ease of patient transfers

Many facilities benefit from a mix of different types of Hoyer lifts, providing their staff with options in any clinical scenario. Variety also provides different levels of safety and comfort for specific patient populations.

Preparing for the Transfer

When using one of Joerns’ Hoyer lifts, some preparatory considerations must be addressed. These include:

  • Safety Check – Before any transfer, ensure that the environment is safe and that all equipment is in optimal working condition.
  • Patient Assessment – Understand the patient’s condition and mobility level to determine the best transfer method. Be sure to take into consideration any wounds or musculoskeletal injuries that may be affected by the Hoyer lift.
  • Preparing the Patient – Communication is key. Inform the patient about the transfer process and ensure they are comfortable throughout. When the patient is informed, they are less likely to experience anxiety during the Hoyer lift.

Step-by-step Guide for Using Joerns’ Hoyer Lifts to Transfer Patients

Once staff and the patient are prepared for the transfer, several steps should be taken to ensure a comfortable, safe transfer.

  1. Safely secure the patient in the sling – Ensure the patient is comfortably and securely placed in the sling. Make sure the sling is positioned under the patient correctly.
  2. Position the Hoyer lift and attach the sling – Ensure the Hoyer lift’s spreader bar is correctly positioned over the patient, then attach the sling to the Hoyer lift. Be sure that all points of the sling are correctly fastened.
  3. Raise the Hoyer lift – Once the patient is secure, slowly and carefully raise the Hoyer lift until the lift is bearing the patient’s full weight.
  4. Move the patient – With utmost care, slowly move the patient to the desired location. Ensure the patient is comfortable and the sling does not swing.
  5. Lower the patient into the new position – Once in position, gently lower the patient until the Hoyer lift is not bearing any of the patient’s weight.
  6. Release the patient from the sling – Ensure the patient is safely positioned, then detach the sling from the Hoyer lift. Remove the sling from under the patient if indicated.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Always use the appropriate sling size for the patient.
  • Never rush the transfer process.
  • Continuously monitor the patient’s comfort and condition during the transfer.

In addition to these tips, always remember that using Hoyer lifts effectively requires adequate training. Healthcare providers must be well-trained to ensure the safety of both themselves and their patients.


Joerns’ Hoyer lifts are the gold standard of patient lifts, playing a crucial role in ensuring safe patient transfers. With the right equipment and training, healthcare facilities can significantly reduce the risk of transfer-related injuries. We invite you to consider partnering with Joerns to ensure safe patient handling in your facility. Learn more about Joerns’ Hoyer lifts and our comprehensive training programs.

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