A decade ago, ceiling track hoists were seen as a sort of overhead contraption that could make any hospital ward or care facility look cluttered and clinical. Ceiling track hoists gave the best level of mobility and accessibility in all kinds of environments, but the sheer appearance of them made patients feel anxious and uncomfortable.
The past 10 years or so have seen patient lifting systems undergo a complete design overhaul; they’re now much subtler and don’t have the same imposing and cold feel that they had before. So what steps can be taken to make an overhead hoist system look nice?
Use simple layouts
One key thing to always bear in mind when specifying a hoist system is to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible. The last thing you want when you’re installing a new hoist system is to have it turn out like a labyrinth with tracks going in all kinds of loops and different directions.
For rooms where only a few pick-up points are needed, then a straight track system could be the best solution. But for rooms where more pick-up and drop-off locations are needed, then a straight track simply won’t cut it (without looking a little messy). For rooms where more coverage is needed, then we’d always suggest a X-Y system. This means that the hoist unit can move practically anywhere within the area of the system on both the X-axis and the Y-axis.
For more information on choosing a X-Y or straight track system, take a look at this blog post.
Keep it inset
Even though we work with hoist systems every day, we understand that there is still a certain stigma about them being unsightly. For long enough, overhead hoists have taken up too much space and made the room feel smaller somehow. So how can you keep today’s ceiling track systems from feeling like they’re almost weighing the roof down?
Quite simply, you can use inset tracking. This is installed inset to the finished ceiling and doesn’t hang below like traditional hoist tracks. This means that the system is a lot less noticeable when you first walk into a room, and it takes up less height in the room.
On a X-Y system, we can use inset tracking on the parallel fixed rails, so only the traverse rail hangs below. This is a much subtler solution and provides excellent room coverage and flexible hoisting.
However, if you do need to hang tracking below the ceiling (for whatever structural reasons), then there is a subtle solution. You can use 65mm track profile, which is much smaller than typical hoist tracking and keeps the system looking neat.
Hide the unit
Even when you’ve got an inset overhead hoist system, the one thing that can still give it away is the hoist unit itself. As this hangs below the ceiling, the unit is the only part of the system which is more noticeably visible than any other component.
Fortunately, we have a solution for this. Bespoke cabinetry can be fitted at the end of the track, which will give you somewhere to put the hoist unit when it’s not needed. This way, the hoist can be hidden away – out of sight, out of mind. For anyone looking at the room, it will simply be a cupboard, and there will be no evidence of a hoist even being there!
Camouflage the system
It is possible to hide the entire overhead system to the point where you wouldn’t even know it was there – including the tracking. The Integralift hidden hoist can provide overhead hoist abilities from A to B with ease, dignity, and subtly.
The Integralift folds up into a bedhead system or floor to ceiling cupboard, looking just like an ordinary piece of furniture. It can then be extended outwards with a spreader bar attached to provide easy transfers from point to point. We usually install these systems for people needing transfers from bed to chair or even bath to wheelchair. If you only require minimal hoist coverage and want to keep it looking nice, then we highly recommend this option.
These are the main ways we keep hoist systems looking nice – whether it’s a multi-user environment or a private home. These simple solutions can keep any room looking as cosy and comfortable as possible, with little to no hint of any clinical equipment being in there. If you need any further advice on the options we mentioned, then get in touch with our team!