One of the good things about a quality hoist system is the longevity that comes with it. Any good hoist should last you for years and years, especially if it’s future-proofed. But the process is a little different when you’re getting a hoist system to go above a hydrotherapy pool. You need to consider the humidity and moisture in the room and how that will affect the hoist over time.
Similarly, hoisting layouts may be a little different to give you the best access not just to the hydrotherapy pool, but also to any adjoining changing rooms. Let’s have a look at what you should think about when specifying a hoist system for a hydrotherapy pool.
Safeguarding Hoist Components
If you’re looking to install a hoist system above a hydrotherapy pool, you should always consider how the humidity may affect the different components of the ceiling track. Tracking is made of metal, and so it can corrode over time if exposed to more moisture.
Our Airglide360 tracking comes powder-coated and protected as standard, but other hoist suppliers may not offer the same feature. When buying any sort of hoist tracking to go above a pool, you should make sure it’s been treated with anti-corrosive lacquer. This will help to protect the rail from rust and other problems that can be caused by humidity.
Our AirRise hoist units can also be used above hydrotherapy pools with no issue, but we always recommend going with an infra-red handset. These are cordless and should be kept away from the pool whenever possible. They’re splash-proof, but not waterproof. Coated circuit boards are also available and are protected with anti-corrosive lacquer; this will protect all components of the hoist unit and the coupling.
Straight Track or X-Y?
The best hoist layout for a hydrotherapy pool varies depending on what it is you want. If you’re wanting a simple transfer point in and out of the room, then a simple straight track should suffice. If you’re wanting more flexibility, then a X-Y is the way to go.
Straight tracks are an easy, cheaper option if you’re wanting a smaller system to transfer in and out of the pool with. We usually suggest that the track should go about 1 metre over the edge of the pool, giving you a safe and convenient point to transfer patients in and out of the pool.
However, we urge you to consider how this may affect your ability to evacuate the pool should there be a fire alarm or any other safety issue. If there is a single pick-up point at the edge of the pool, you will have to move the individuals to that location to before they can be removed from the hydrotherapy pool.
X-Y systems offer more flexibility when moving people around, but tend to cost a bit more because they require more material. With a X-Y (also referred to as a H-frame), you can move anywhere within the footprint of the system. This also means that patients can be transferred from practically any location in the pool in the event of an emergency.
With a hoist layout for a hydrotherapy pool, it’s common to want to link it to a system in an adjoining changing room. Particularly with facilities like SEN schools, there will be separate changing rooms – male and female.
With our previous clients, we have always suggested having a X-Y system in the changing room (giving you more flexibility of where to pick up from) that connects to a straight track or X-Y system over the pool. In one case, we’ve had two straight tracks systems (one in each changing room) that can connect to two separate traverse rails on the same X-Y system over the pool.
An Alternative Sling
One last thing you may want to think about is your option of slings. Some people simply cannot tolerate being hoisted in and out of a pool in a supine position. There are options of rigid slings that are in a seated position – giving the user the ability to remain in a strong, stable seated position whilst they are being lifted in and out of the pool. Alternatively, if you do want a soft material sling we always recommend going for a mesh or spacer fabric to enable water to pass through it.
Essentially, the biggest thing to consider when getting a hoist system above a hydrotherapy pool is the way that the moisture could affect your equipment. It’s always worth getting equipment that is protected for such environments, or paying a little more to have it coated. This can save you a lot of time and money further down the line. You also need to think about the requirements of the people using your pool as to how much coverage you’ll need. But we’re always on-hand should you have any questions or concerns about hoists and hydrotherapy pools, so get in touch.