Guide to Selecting Patient Lifts

Patient lifts are among the important pieces of equipment in both the home and medical facilities. They are used to assist caregivers in the transportation of patients who have limited mobility. Lifts can help a lot when patients need to move between beds, toilets, wheelchairs, and showers. There are also different types of patient lifts available, and they are used for patients who have different degrees of mobility in hospitals, nursing homes, and in people’s own homes.

Sometimes, it is challenging to know if a patient lift is needed. But they are mainly designed to minimize the physical effort that the caregiver needs to exert when transporting a patient who is unable to stand or walk. Before, patient lifts were too bulky and voluminous to be used at home. But today, there are patient lifts available, which are lighter, safer, more economical, and less expensive. They are also easier to handle for both the caregiver and the patient.

Since there are a lot of different patient lifts in the market, it is sometimes hard to figure out which one is the best. If you are thinking of buying one for your patient or loved one but don’t know which one to pick, we are here to help you. In this article, we are giving you a guide to selecting patient lifts.

What are Patient Lifts?

Patient lifts are assistive devices made to safely transfer and lift individuals with limited mobility. They play an important role in healthcare settings, allowing caregivers to move patients without straining their own bodies or risking injury to the patient. The main function of patient lifts is to facilitate transfers between various surfaces, such as beds, wheelchairs, or bathtubs, ensuring the safety and comfort of both the patient and the caregiver.

Patient lifts typically consist of a frame, which provides the structural support and stability for the patient lift. It is designed to withstand the weight of the patient and any additional equipment, such as harnesses or slings. There are also patient lifts that come with a lifting mechanism, which powers the lifting and lowering of the patient. This can vary depending on the type of patient lift, such as electric or hydraulic systems.

There are also patient lifts that use different attachments to secure the patient during transfers. These include slings, harnesses, and specific grab bars tailored to the needs and level of mobility of the patient. They ensure that the patient remains stable and supported during the transfer process.

Advantages of Using Patient Lifts

caregiver showing the patient lift for a senior man

The function of patient lifts goes beyond transferring patients. They also provide many different benefits for both the patient and the caregiver. Below are some of them:


Using a patient lift can minimize the risk of falls and injuries when transferring patients from one place to another. These devices provide stability and support, reducing the strain on both the patient and the caregiver.


Patient lifts offer a more comfortable transfer experience for patients. Since they provide a smooth and controlled lifting motion, the discomfort or jarring movements are minimized.

Caregiver Assistance

The use of patient lifts also helps caregivers perform transfers with minimal physical effort. With this, they reduce the risk of strain or musculoskeletal injuries that are associated with manual lifting.


Patient lifts can also help enhance the independence of individuals who have limited mobility. They allow patients to actively participate in transfers and maintain a sense of autonomy.

Important Things to Consider When Selecting Patient Lifts

Patient Lifts

In order to pick the best patient lift for your loved one, there are important factors that you need to consider. This way, you can ensure that the product you will get will provide good assistance to you and your patient. To further help you, below are some of the important things that you need to consider when selecting patient lifts:

Assess the Patient’s Needs

It is crucial to assess the specific needs of the patient in order to choose the right type of patient lift. Understanding the patient’s mobility level, weight-bearing capacity, environment, and other factors will help you determine the most appropriate lift for their requirements.

You need to determine the ability of the patient to bear weight and assist in transfers. Know if they are completely immobile, have partial weight-bearing capability, or can stand with assistance. Aside from that, you also need to consider the range of motion of the patient, along with his or her balance and coordination during transfers. You also need to identify any specific mobility challenges the patient may have, such as limited leg or arm movement.

Environment and Space Constraints

When choosing a patient lift, you also need to evaluate the physical environment where it will be used, such as the patient’s home or healthcare facility. Assess the available space, including hallways, doorways, and room layouts to ensure that the lift can maneuver safely without obstruction. You should also consider any architectural limitations, such as low ceilings or narrow passageways that may affect the type of patient lift that can be used.

Transfer Requirements

Another thing you need to consider is the specific types of transfers needed, such as bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet, or bathtub transfers. Determine if the patient needs assistance in different positions, such as lying down, sitting, or standing. It is also important to consider the comfort and positioning needs of the patient during transfers, including any medical conditions or sensitivities to certain positions.

Caregiver Abilities

It is also important to assess the physical capabilities of the caregivers who will be using the patient lift. You need to consider their strength, mobility, and training level to make sure that they can safely and effectively use the patient lift. It is also essential to take into account any specific ergonomic considerations to decrease strain and injury risks for caregivers.

Weight Capacity and Lifting Range

Pick a patient lift that has a weight capacity that exceeds the weight of the patient to ensure safe lifting. You also have to consider the lifting range of the device to make sure that it can accommodate the height of the patient when transferring to different surfaces.

Stability and Maneuverability of the Lift

Choose a patient lift that provides stability and balance during transfers. Make sure that the base of the device is wide and sturdy to prevent tipping or instability. You should also evaluate the maneuverability of the lift, particularly in tight spaces or around obstacles, to ensure smooth and safe movement.

Ergonomics and Ease of Use for Caregivers

You should also choose a patient lift that promotes proper body mechanics and minimizes strain on caregivers. You may consider features like handle grips, adjustable height, and accessible controls for ease of use. You should also try to look for ergonomic design elements that prioritize caregiver comfort during use.

Safety Features

It is very important to check for essential safety features, such as locking mechanisms to secure the lift in place during transfers. Try to look for emergency stop buttons or quick-release mechanisms that allow for immediate halting of the lift if needed.

Compliance with Regulatory Standards

Make sure that the patient lift you pick meets all relevant regulatory standards and certifications for safety and quality. Look for labels or markings indicating compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Adjustability and Customization

Choose a patient lift that provides height adjustability to accommodate different transfer situations and user preferences. It is also important to consider lifts with adjustable base widths to accommodate different environments and space constraints. Look for ones that offer customizable features, such as adjustable leg rests, knee pads, or armrests to enhance the comfort and support for the patient.

Different Types of Patient Lifts

man using a patient lift

When choosing a patient lift, it is essential to understand the different types available and their specific characteristics. This way, you’ll be able to select the best one that will cater to the needs and preferences of the patient. To help you, below are the different types of patient lifts that you can choose from:

Hydraulic Patient Lifts

Hydraulic patient lifts are a type of patient lift that works using a hydraulic pump system to raise and lower the patient. A pump handle is operated by a caregiver to activate the hydraulic mechanism, which applies pressure to lift the patient. It requires physical effort from the caregiver to operate the pump handle. It is pumped to raise the patient and released to lower them. Compared to electric lifts, hydraulic lifts are generally more affordable. They are also great for home care settings or if you are on a budget.

This type of patient lift is available in different weight capacities to accommodate different patient sizes. Just make sure that you choose one with a weight capacity that exceeds the patient’s weight to ensure safe lifting. Also, the caregiver should have enough strength to use a hydraulic lift comfortably throughout the transfer process.

Below are some examples of hydraulic patient lifts to help you pick:

Electric Patient Lifts

An electric patient lift is powered by electricity, eliminating the need for manual pumping or physical effort from caregivers. They feature an electric motor that raises and lowers the patient. Most of them feature control buttons or handheld pendants for caregivers to operate the lift. These controls allow for precise and controlled lifting and lowering motions.

Compared to hydraulic lifts, electric patient lifts offer smoother and more controlled transfers. It’s because the electric motor provides consistent lifting and lowering movements, promoting patient comfort and reducing the risk of sudden jarring motions. Electric patient lifts also come in different weight capacities for different patient sizes. Some of them also come with additional features, such as tilting functions, powered leg spreading, or adjustable height options to make transfers more comfortable.

Electric patient lifts are generally easier to use for caregivers. However, they may still need training or familiarization with the specific electric lift model to ensure proper and safe operation. Below are a few examples of electric patient lifts to help you choose:

Sit-To-Stand Patient Lifts

A sit-to-stand patient lift is also known as a standing lift or stand-assist lift. It is designed to assist individuals with limited mobility in transitioning from a sitting position to a standing position. They are best for patients who have some weight-bearing capacity and can actively participate in the standing process. The lift provides the needed support and assistance for individuals who may have difficulty standing up on their own.

This type of patient lift is best used to facilitate transfers from different seated positions, such as wheelchairs, chairs, or toilets, to a standing position. They are perfect for those who need assistance in maintaining balance and stability during the transition. Most of these lifts are equipped with knee pads, adjustable leg supports, and grab bars for more support and stability, and to minimize the risk of falls or loss of balance. Sit-to-stand patient lifts can either be hydraulic or electric.

Below are some examples of sit-to-stand patient lifts to help you pick:

Mobile Floor Lifts

Mobile floor lifts are also called portable patient lifts or floor-based lifts. They are designed to be easily movable between different rooms or areas. They have wheels or casters that allow for smooth transportation without the need for installation or attachment to a fixed track or ceiling. It provides flexibility in transferring patients to and from different surfaces, such as beds, chairs, baths, or toilets.

These patient lifts are designed to be maneuverable in tight spaces and around obstacles. Most of them have swivel or locking wheels that allow caregivers to navigate doorways, hallways, or corners with ease. Below are some examples of mobile floor lifts to help you choose:

Bath Lifts

People in recovery might be unable to raise and lower themselves in and out of a bathtub without assistance. However, a shower may not be an option for several reasons, such as safety and the risk of falling. If this is the case, a bath lift may help seniors or patients when it comes to raising and lowering themselves in the bathroom.

There are different types of bath lifts available in the market. For instance, an inflatable bath lift may help maintain dignity and privacy with its independent design and ease of use. A cushion-style bathtub lift, on the other hand, is powered by a low-pressure pump and inflates in seconds, which offers a portable option for people who want to bathe without risking a fall.

Below are some examples of bath patient lifts to help you pick:


There are indeed a lot of things that you need to consider when you are searching for a good patient lift. You do not only have to consider the specific medical needs of the patient but also other available resources, such as space and the ability to transport the lift. Selecting the right patient lift is crucial for ensuring the safe and comfortable transfer of individuals with limited mobility. By considering the important factors that we’ve provided in this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will meet the requirements and preferences of the patient.

Understanding the different types of patient lifts available is also important as each of them has its own benefits and considerations. You just need to make sure that you choose the most suitable one for the patient. When choosing a patient lift, safety should always be a top priority. We hope this article helped you learn more about selecting patient lifts.