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Sling Buyer's Guide

Sling Buyer's Guide
Kevin Cleary

A safe patient transfer requires two things, a patient lift and a sling. There are many variations of slings, all dependent upon a patient’s needs. These slings cradle and lift a person during a transfer between a bed, wheelchair, or commode/shower chair. One’s medical condition can dictate the type of sling they can use. For example, a patient that must remain in a supine position should not use a sling that lifts the patient in a seated position. Most slings utilize a 2 or 4 strap connection method or allow for a connection using chains. These slings can be positioned while a patient is in a horizontal or seated position. There are many variations of slings to accommodate most patients’ needs.

What are the Different Types of Patient Slings?

  • Cradle Sling: A cradle sling is positioned underneath the patient and lifts them up into a seated position. This allows for a safe transfer from a bed to a wheelchair. These slings are solid and vary depending upon a patient’s mobility. Many of these slings can be placed under a patient in a supine or seated position. They support the back and head while crossing under the legs. Another style is in the shape of an hourglass, which supports from the shoulders to the knees and connects via a four point connection. Many have a four-point attachment to the lift boom arm. They are made of a solid polyester-nylon or a meshed polyester material. These are easily washed and dried. Many of these slings can be left under the patient, but care must be taken since some slings retain body heat.
  • Supine Slings: When a patient must maintain a horizontal position, a supine sling maintains a flat position. Many times a patient’s medical condition will not allow for a patient to bend, these slings make it safe to transfer these patients. These slings allow the patient to be transferred from a bed to a therapy table or a shower table. This style of sling is typically used in conjunction with a special type of lift specifically made for lifting a patient in a horizontal position.
  • Commode or Toileting Slings: For toileting needs, the patient must be transferred to a commode chair or toilet. These polyester slings have a round opening, matching that of a toilet or commode chair, which makes toileting easy and convenient. They are made from polyester/nylon and can be washed and dried with ease. This material reduces slipping, making for a secure transfer.
  • Standing Slings: Standing lifts raise a patient to a standing position, therefore requires a different type of sling. These lifts raise the patient on a diagonal axis, instead of vertically. Depending upon a patient’s ability, these slings can range from being similar to a cradle sling or being just a strap around the patient’s back and under their arms. Some may even resemble a belt.

How to Choose the Best Patient Slings?

Different individuals have different requirements in terms of patient slings. There are a few things that you must consider before choosing the best patient sling for a compatible use with you patient lift.

  • Patient Assessment – Making a near accurate assessment of the patient is paramount in choosing the best patient sling. The height and weight of the patient, the amount of support they need, the strength of the upper body, and other additional parameters associated to the patient.
  • Fabric of the Sling – The fabric of the sling directly translates to the support level and the comfort level of the patient sling. If the material of the sling causes irritation then continuous use of the sling can causes rashes or blisters. Also if the material is not to strong it can tear and cause accidents. Check the fabric of the sling and ensure its strength before choosing the best patient sling.
  • Sizing of the Sling – Accurate sizing of the sling would be the perfect situation for patient transfer as it would be comfortable for the patient and also be safe and secure while preventing accidents or mishaps. Match the size of the patient sling with the patient and the patient lift that would be used for optimum output.
  • Other Features of the Sling – Other features that one should consider before choosing the best patient sling are head support, stability of the trunk, shape and built of the sling, padding in the sling, etc.

Five Best Patient Slings

1. Invacare Divided Leg Patient Lift Sling

Invacare Divided Leg Patient Lift Sling is a secure, easy-to fit general purpose sling, designed for the majority of sling users. It can be useful for residents who are totally dependent, partially dependent, very heavy, non-weight bearing or have limited head control. This versatile sling provides full head and neck support and can easily be removed or applied to a resident in a seated or supine position. Invacare Divided Leg Sling is ideal for Invacare I-Lift Series Lifts and Invacare Reliant 450, 600 Lifts.

Features Invacare Divided Leg Sling

  • Used when transferring the resident from the bed to a wheelchair, recliner or showerchair or from the floor to a bed
  • Solid fabric has extra padding for residents with delicate skin
  • 3 support straps on each side for safety and security
  • Fully-padded fabric for a soft, supportive surface
  • Large opening also accommodates toileting
  • Polyester fabric can be used in wet or dry environments
  • Brushed lining helps prevent sliding and protects skin
  • Invacare Sling is washable
  • Weight capacity: 450lbs

How to use Invacare Patient Lift Sling?

  • With the patient sitting in a wheelchair one assistant in front of the wheelchair and the other assistant in the back of the wheelchair, lean the patient forward
  • Place the sling behind the patient (with "grab handle" on the outside) and bring the flaps out alongside the patient’s legs
  • NOTE: For the Divided Leg sling, the back of the sling should be parallel to the patient’s upper arms and be positioned between the top of the patient’s head and the base of the spine
  • With the back of the sling positioned properly, push the bottom of the back section to the seat.
  • Lean the patient back into the wheelchair with the assistant in the rear supporting his/her weight.
  • Lift the patient’s legs (one at a time) and reach under the patient’s leg to pull the front of the sling until it is behind the patient’s knees (about 3 inches). The back of the sling should remain in position.
Buy Invacare Divided Leg Patient Lift Sling
Invacare Divided Leg Patient Lift Sling

2. Invacare Premier Series Transfer Stand-Assist Sling

Invacare Premier Series Transfer Stand-Assist Sling is used for transferring cooperative users with minimal weight-bearing ability, who can sit up on the edge of the bed (with or without assistance), have head/neck control and are able to bend at the hips, knees and ankles. This Transfer sling is for use with Invacare Roze, Invacare Reliant 350 Stand-Assist and Invacare Get-U-Up Lifts.

Features Invacare Transfer Stand-Assist Sling

  • Made of solid polyester fabric which can be laundered
  • Easily adjust to ensure comfortable and secure fit
  • Easy attachment points simplify attaching the sling confidently
  • For transfers from bed to chair or a chair to car
  • Product weight capacity: 450 lbs.

Positioning Transfer Stand-Assist Sling

  • Position the transport sling behind the patient. Make sure the bottom edge of the sling is at the base of the spine.
  • Note: The labels on the transport sling should be up and facing away from the patient.
  • Lift up one of the patient legs and position the thigh support under the leg.
  • Repeat Step 2 for the opposite thigh support.
  • Pull the thigh support of the sling under each thigh of the patient until the thigh supports reach completely around the thighs of the patient.
  • Note: Make sure the sling fabric is smooth underneath the thighs of the patient.
  • Attach the transport sling to the stand-up lift.
Buy Invacare Premier Series Transfer Stand-Assist Sling
Invacare Premier Series Transfer Stand-Assist Sling

3.  Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support

Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support is made up of durable polyester material with a solid design. It comes with closed-cell foam padding for added comfort with head support. It can be easily installed and removed and is adaptable to a wide range of shapes, sizes, and needs.

Features of Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support

  • Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support comes with 4 sling points
  • Optional chain or strap not required
  • Cradle points: 4 or 6
  • Weight Capacity: 600lbs

Using the Drive Patient Sling for Transfer from Bed

  • If a patient needs support and is in a hospital bed, raise side rails and have patient hold onto rails.
  • Raise the level of the bed to the highest position before moving the patient onto the sling.
  • Put the folded sling behind patients back. Roll patient onto the back.
  • Pull the leg loops forward and under the thighs and cross the loops.
  • Roll the base of the patient lift as far under the bed as possible, placing the cradle over the patient.
  • Take caution not to lower the frame onto the patient.
  • Before lifting patient be sure the lifter arm is centered over the patient.
  • Remember, when lifting patient, the parking brake should NOT be used.
  • When both sides of the sling are attached to their respective side of the cradle, raise the patient slowly.
  • If the patient is in a hospital bed, it will help to raise the head of bed. Repositioning of the patient may be needed to ensure that a safe sitting position is attained as the patient is raised. 5. Raise patient until buttocks are just above the mattress. The self-leveling cradle will bring the patient into sitting position.
  • Hold steering handles and move lifter away from the bed. Move the patient into position over the seat of a locked wheelchair.
  • Lower patient into a wheelchair or other transport device into the transport position.

Washing Instructions of Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support

  • Machine Wash in warm or cold water.
  • Maximum washing temperature 185°F (85°C).
  • Wash at 160°F (71°C) for 3 minutes.
  • Wash at 145°F (63°C) for 10 minutes.
  • Air Dry, or Tumble Dry at cool or very low temperature.
  • Do NOT Tumble Dry at high temperature.
  • Use Non-Enzyme detergent.
  • Do not use bleach
  • Do not wash with other colors.
Buy Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support
Drive Padded U-Sling With Head Support

4. Prism Universal Quilted Sling

Prism Universal Quilted Sling is easy to use a multi-purpose sling that provides toileting access as well as good back and thigh support. It comes standard with leg, hip, and shoulder straps for guaranteed support. It features multiple color-coded loops for identification and noted in an individual care plan for later reference.

Features of Prism Universal Quilted Sling

  • Prism Universal Mesh Sling multiple color-coded loops that accommodate for various seating positions
  • Covered strap connections points to protect the skin
  • Sling label serves as a sling information reference
  • User care plan is supplied with every sling
  • Guide handles to facilitate correct handling during transfers
  • Center markers assists the caregiver in correctly positioning the sling
  • Side straps even the weight distribution and therefore the sling is more comfortable
  • Quilted leg sections and no binding on outer leg section for added comfort
  • Generous commode aperture for toileting
  • Slip fit material on outer leg sections to aid sling application/removal

Clinical Applications of Prism Universal Mesh Sling

  • Requires head support
  • Requires lateral support
  • Needs or wants to sit at 90ohip flexion (Chair Position)
  • Has intact lower limbs or who has unilateral below the knee amputation

Sizing Guidelines of Prism Universal Mesh Sling

  • Universal slings should be assessed for the proper size by utilizing the point at which the shoulder strap attaches to the sling body. This point should:
  • Height: Fall between the deltoid point and the top of the ear
  • Width/Circumference: Fall between the anterior crease of the shoulder (point at which the deltoid muscle and chest meet) and the center line of the body
  • The need for head support, when using the Universal sling, needs to be determined. The leg straps should also be assessed to determine if there is an appropriate amount of material available, to ensure comfort of the sling
  • Remember to use your best clinical judgment when choosing a sling size which best fits your patient. People come in all different shapes and sizes and two people may weigh the same or be the same height but require different sized slings
  • If the patient weighs over 400lbs a sling consultation is recommended

Washing Instructions of Prism Universal Mesh Sling

  • The sling should be inserted into a washer/laundry bag prior to being placed in the washer. This is to prevent any unusual wear and tear of the sling by the agitator and/or other parts of the washing machine
  • Use mild detergent
  • Set washing machine to Warm wash/cold rinse cycle
  • Do not dry on steam pipes, conventional heaters, wood stoves, or other similar devices
  • Tumble dry on air/fluff cycle only, or hang dry
  • Do not use chlorine based bleach
  • Do not dry clean
Buy Prism Universal Quilted Sling
Prism Universal Quilted Sling

5. Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling Without Commode Opening

Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling Without Commode Opening has one-piece contour sling design which supports users from shoulders to knees. Caregivers can weigh, transfer, reposition or help toilet the user. Polyester can be used in wet and dry environments.

Features Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling

  • Requires Invacare 9070 sling straps or 9071 sling chains
  • Brushed lining
  • Sling is washable
  • Overall length: 40.5"
  • Overall width: 29"
  • Product weight capacity: 450 lbs

How to Position Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling?

  • With an attendant on each side of the bed and up against the mattress, the attendant on the right-hand side of the bed will elevate the left knee and position his/her left-hand on the elevated knee and his/her right-hand under the left shoulder, slowly push on the knee and assist with a slight lift of the shoulder and the patient will easily roll onto their side.
  • Put the standard style sling onto the mattress. The upper edge of the back section should be positioned slightly above the armpit level and the lower edge of the seat section positioned a few inches above the back of the patient knees.
  • Roll the patient onto his/her back. The patient should be approximately centered on the sling section.
  • Pull the sling across the mattress until smooth.
Buy Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling Without Commode Opening
Invacare Polyester Mesh Sling Without Commode Opening

Where to Buy the Best Patient Slings?

At Health Products For You, we have a vast range of premium and best patient slings that offer complete and comfortable support while patient transfers.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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