She’s not heavy she could have been your mother!

When I started my nurse training back in 1981, manually moving patients was a normal part of my working day. We used techniques such as The Australian Lift, Top and Tail Lift and the Drag lift.

These techniques are now known as Controversial Techniques and should not be used.

When Moving and Handling equipment began to be introduced, although alien to us at the beginning, began to make our lives easier and the patients care safer. As with anything, if not done correctly, accidents can happen, and this can be said for using a hoist.

Listed below are a few examples of how not using hoists correctly can end in tragedy:

Alice Belle, 90, had been a patient in Molsey Hall Hospital on a rehabilitation ward for several months. She was dependant on the hospital staff for moving and handling. Two carers were hoisting her from a commode to her bed. The carers used a hoist and large sling to carry out this manoeuvre.During this procedure she fell though the aperture in the sling and hit her head on the floor, resulting in her death at the scene. There were no safe systems of work in place when it came to have the correct size sling for the patient.

South Birmingham Primary Care Trust were find £20,000 plus £17,500 in partial costs.    Source: SHP Online 2008


In 2013 an 89- year resident was being hoisted from her bed to her chair by two care workers. When being moved the resident fell through the sling resulting in fractured ribs and a break to her right femur (thigh bone).  Due to poor health the resident could only be cared for palliatively until her death 9 days later.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the home did not have adequate arrangements in place to make sure that residents could be hoisted safely.

The home was fined £60,000.    Source: Care Home Professional


A 100-year-old lady was being hoisted in a care home. She wasn’t strapped in correctly and fell to the floor from a height of five feet resulting in her fracturing her knee and hip and hitting her head. The care workers proceeded to change the ladies’ clothes and put her into bed before calling for an ambulance. The lady died the day after the incident.

The care home and its former boss were fined £337,000.     Source: The Telegraph 2015


Wendy Attew, Senior Moving and Handling Consultant

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