Evaluation Background: Ceiling-Mounted Patient Lifts

October 3, 2019 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of ceiling-mounted patient lifts, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and ECRI Institute's data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor.

Ceiling-mounted patient lifts are used to support patients who are unable to bear their own weight. They follow tracks mounted to the ceilings and are designed to hoist and transfer patients safely to and from beds, wheelchairs, toilets or bathtubs, as well as to pick up fallen patients from the floor or help patients stand. Ceiling-mounted lifts can also be used to ambulate a patient, aid in rehabilitation, and lift/support limbs to promote wound treatment. These devices can be used in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and private residences.

Patient lifts enable safe lifting and transferring of weak, obese, or disabled persons with minimal physical effort. They are important devices for helping nurses to reduce lift-strain injuries in the workplace. Caregivers frequently use lifts to move a patient to or from a wheelchair, toilet, or bathtub—primarily when staffing is limited or when a patient's weight or condition is such that manual lifting is not feasible.

Modern patient lifts have been around for decades, but manufacturers continue to add advanced features that may increase the versatility of the lift. Currently available patient lifts span many levels of technological sophistication, from manually controlled models, to electrically controlled ones (using a charging station for the motor or continuous charging integrated into the tracks), to models that incorporate remote controls.

Scales are integrated into the lifts to weigh patients who are unable to use a traditional scale. All controls have become powered in recent years, with more options on the control panel and handheld control. Many models have included powered lateral movement of the patient in addition to the standard upward/downward movement. Some models have a display on the handheld control or motor to provide the user with patient weight, battery status, service/maintenance information, and safety alerts. Additional safety measures have also been included in newer models. Many models include anti-collision detection for their hanger bar, and load sensors to prevent the lift from lifting more than their rated load and/or to interrupt lifting if the lift strap is twisted. As the demand for bariatric services has increased—a trend that is expected to continue over the next several years—so too has interest in ergonomically correct and reinforced patient lifts with larger load limits to accommodate bariatric patients. Facilities are looking at products to meet the needs of obese patients, and patient lifts aid in the maneuvering and transferring of these patients throughout the hospital.

Click the product names below to view our complete findings. Products are listed alphabetically by supplier. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​...

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