Ceiling track hoists Vs. Mobile hoists: Which is more efficient?

The effectiveness of healthcare is partially determined by the design of the physical environment and the organisation of the space. A recent study revealed that nurses will choose to join a trust based on the workspace available in wards, along with many other factors. The importance of using equipment and the space provided effectively in healthcare is paramount. Not only to the nurses and carers providing the support but to those who are in need of the care, making their time in the ward as relaxing and comforting as possible.

There have been many studies conducted over the years into the way healthcare should use space, to ensure that the NHS and other health organisations are providing the ultimate experience for those in need.

Director of Hospital Ergonomics and the Patient Safety Unit, Sue Hignett, MSc, PhD, set out “to measure and compare the minimum space required to operate a mobile hoist and an overhead (gantry) hoist in a single bed space for two patient-handling tasks.” (1) The study explored the variations between the ceiling track hoist and the mobile hoist to get a clearer understanding of what worked best. From the findings, there were some interesting discoveries:

Ceiling tracks are more time efficient

From the results, it was made apparent that track hoists are more time efficient, allowing the nurse to spend more time looking after the person who needs to be cared for, instead of having to struggle with the mobile hoist equipment. Staff in all facilities shared a view that manual patient handling techniques were more demanding, and that ceiling lifts were significantly less demanding. As the ceiling tracks are more easily accessible and less difficult, this allowed the nurses to have less time spent on the transfer, and more time to focus on the user.

Ceiling tracks take up less space

The results revealed that the provision of sufficient space is extremely important to the staff, and is an appropriate and vital requirement for any healthcare organisation. The study discovered that the use of mobile hoists is restricted by insufficient bed space. The mobile hoist exceeded the current recommended minimum space for a single room (3200mm) by requiring an additional 400mm to turn the hoist with the patient. This revealed that for chair-to-bed and floor-to-bed transfers, overhead hoists use much less operational space than mobile hoists. Studies by Meyer (1995) and McGuire et al (1996) also discovered that respondents found mobile hoists too large, or that they have insufficient space in which to use them.

Ceiling tracks received more positive feedback

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Transfer by ceiling lifts was generally preferred by patients over floor lifts and manual methods, with the majority of patient perceptions of ceiling lifts more positive than mobile hoists. When operating a mobile hoist in a restricted space, staff felt there was an increased risk to their safety.  Half of the nurses reported that the space constraints in wards and bathrooms were making their job harder when using mechanical aids such as mobile lifts, and they found that the ceiling lifts were much better suited to the space.

Ceiling tracks are better for the patient and nurse

Overhead lifts were perceived by patients to be far more comfortable than floor lifts for bed-to-chair, and chair-to-bed transfers. Ceiling lifts were viewed as being significantly more comfortable than floor lifts. There was a preference for using ceiling lifts for both transferring and repositioning patients from 97% of healthcare staff surveyed.

To conclude, the results from both studies revealed that a ceiling track for transferring a patient was perceived by staff to be less difficult, more efficient, easier-access and lower injury risk, compared with mobile hoists.

Innova provides innovative and reliable overhead hoist units and a unique track system with the world’s first fully automatic components, offering extremely smooth and quick transfers. These products have been refined again and again to ensure they are amongst the most advanced products on the market. Innova’s mission is to ‘enhance quality of life’, through designing and developing new revolutionary products. For more information on what Innova has to offer, visit: www.innovacareconcepts.com

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