CNA Skill: How to Use a Hoyer Lift

You are in your clinical rotation as a CNA and you have been assigned to the floor with the elderly population. You notice that there is a Hoyer Lift, but not sure what it does or how to use it. This blog post will tell you about the functions of a mechanical lift, how to use one correctly and safely, and some tips for preventing injuries while using it.

Here is a video demonstration of how to use a mechanical lift.

How to Use a Hoyer Lift

The process for using hoyer lift during the CNA skills exam is as follows:

  1. The first thing to do is understand the resident’s needs and why they needs this lift.
  2. After assessing their needs, show how to charge a battery and locate it in case of an emergency.
  3. Always make sure that you are able to lower your resident after use so as not break any bones or cause injury when lowering down from the lift.
  4. Point out the emergency stop button and the purpose of using it.
  5. Make sure the sling is in a good working condition.
  6. Make sure two caregivers are present at lifting time.
  7. Adjust bed to height that promotes good body mechanics.
  8. Tell the resident’s that you are going to transfer them using hoyer lift. Prepare and make them feel comfortable.
  9. Residents should be placed on the appropriate sling size and style, according to their Care Plan.
  10. Positions with the spreader bar always perpendicular to a resident’s shoulders will hover over the chest and make sure not to cause any pain.
  11. Attaches the sling straps without pulling or tugging to the desired setting. Considers elevating head of bed for greater ease in completion.
  12. Gently raises resident minimally from surface and unweights them so they’re not stuck on their back when getting up. To make sure perform a safety check.
  13. Turn resident’s legs towards the perpendicular support bar of the lift during move. Gently lower them into chair in proper position.
  14. Finally, removes the sling.

Examiner Checklist:

  • Patient is comfortable position.
  • Sling is fit appropriately to the resident’s size and needs.
  • If not self-propelled device must be available for patient to use after lift skills are complete.
  • Mechanical lift charged.
  • Emergency stop button is visible and accessible at all times during transfer.

Students Practice Tips at Home:

Practice using the hoyer lift at home before trying it out during the clinical rotation. This will ensure that you can properly demonstrate that you know how to use one and that you are comfortable using it without getting hurt.

Take some time to practice these skills with your friend or family members.

Rehearse how you would communicate to the resident that they are going to be lifted by an implement. One of the best ways to do this is to try role play with them, where one person acts as the “resident” and one acts like they are doing the lifting process themselves.

Be sure to instruct them on how you would like them to act (happy, angry, scared etc.) so it will make it easier for yourself when you need to lift someone up later in life by using a hoyer lift.

Additional Hoyer Lifting Tips:

  • Lift with two people, not one
  • When lifting someone up, make sure their head is higher than their legs to ensure safety
  • Check for proper positioning underneath their body once they are lifted off of the ground
  • Evaluate whether or not your hoyer lift can support the resident’s weight before trying to use it. Make sure that you check your correct positioning, just like an examiner would assess throughout clinicals! Don’t assume anything and be safe!
  • Also take care in making sure whoever else is around (i.e., the resident’s family members, other patients) are not in any danger of getting hurt if you try to use this tool on them.
  • Thankfully, when using a hoyer lift during your assessment skills test, it is unlikely that the examiner will place any other residents in the room with you when you are trying out this skill, so that should eliminate some of your worries about how to safely do it without scaring or hurting anyone else in the area.
  • Depending on where you work during clinicals and what kinds of equipment have been placed at your disposal there may be more things to take into consideration when trying out this assessment skills task, but if something like a hoyer lift been provided for you to use then following these safety guidelines and tips will certainly help you out!
  • Take time during your clinical rotation to practice using a hoyer lift on residents who don’t actually need them (so as not to scare other actual patients). This way, you will know what proper protocol should look like, without having any other distractions around.

Common Mistake Students Makes in Hoyer Lifting Test:

One common mistake students make is assuming that a hoyer lift is a “magical tool” and can easily be placed under the resident without any guidance from the examiner. When using a hoyer lift, it’s always best to have someone nearby who can assist you in placing the sling under them before actually lifting them up.

Another mistake students tend to make during their clinical rotations or assessment skills test is not checking for proper positioning underneath their body once they are lifted off of the ground. It’s important to go through proper protocol when checking if they are properly secured on the sling; this includes making sure both your feet and theirs are touching and that nothing else (i.e., bumpers) interfere with how safe it actually looks like they are.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that hoyer lifts can’t be used with every resident who is in the nursing home. It might be necessary for you to assess how heavy they are and whether or not your lift can support their weight.

In this blog post, we’ve covered the basics of using a mechanical/hoyer lift. Now that you have an idea about how to choose and operate one safely, be sure to read our other posts on CNA skills for more tips!

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