Elevating the importance of hoists

Whether mobile, overhead or wall-mounted, hoists can be installed and used in any almost any space. Bob Oliver of Innova Care Concepts explains why hoisting systems should be integrated into healthcare building designs from the outset.

Hoisting systems are one of the most significant pieces of kit in any healthcare environment, providing users with a good quality of life simply by facilitating the need to move from place to place with dignity.

As healthcare environments are designed and built to cater to the needs of the end-user, hoisting systems should be included to guarantee that patients are freely given the tools they might need to get around.

Evolution

Recent industry trends have instigated
a makeover on the old faithful hoisting system. Sleeker, smarter hoist units
are favoured for their combination of subtle aesthetics and robust functionality that helps reduce patient stress when transferring. The tracking system itself has evolved. The inset track sits in the ceiling and looks a lot smarter while being easier to clean than standard tracking.

Alternative solutions to the tracking system are available; for example, some hidden hoists can be wall-mounted and folded away when not in use, fostering a more homely environment.

Different room layouts require different track set-ups. Straight tracks are fairly self- explanatory: they are a single rail that enable basic movement from one point to another. They can be installed with curves or with transit coupling and track switches that enable change direction.

X-Y systems (also referred to as H frames) offer a wider range of hoisting and greater flexibility of care. X-Y systems have two parallel fixed rails and a perpendicular moving traverse rail that can pick up and hoist across the range of the fixed rails. They can also be adapted to connect to other fixed tracks, or even another X-Y layout, and can be installed and mounted on wooden joists, concrete, or steel fixings.

Operating environments

The next thing to consider is the areas that need to be accessed. Beds, showers, baths, and toilets are all common ‘pick up’ points. Multi-user environments are more challeng- ing as they require the equipment to meet the needs of every individual and work in conjunction with other apparatus, such as curtain rails.

X-Y systems are designed to be suitable for multi-user space as they offer access to any part of the area. With the fixed, paral- lel rails installed wide apart, the traverse rail is free to move. Curtain rails can be navigated using track systems and gates that create a gap in the hoist rail or the curtain rail to allow them to pass between one another.

Rooms for bariatric patients need to be larger and fitted with double doors to enable manoeuvring. Here, an X-Y system is best suited as it utilises the width of the room. This system can fit to another X-Y system, with the track passing through the centre of the double-door.

Specifying

When specifying, consideration should be given to the layout of the room, the track fixings and the client’s needs. Hoist special- ists should be involved to suggest the most suitable track layouts and configurations, while architects can also benefit from professional development sessions.

Bob Oliver is senior contracts manager and hoist specialist at Innova Care Concepts