How to Use a Hoyer Lift for Toileting

Last Updated: 12.04.24


Patients and caregivers alike are very happy with the great benefits of a folding hoyer lift. This useful and practical device assists them in smooth and safe transfer to and from the wheelchair, baths, and mobility units. It is important for the lift to be easy to operate and maneuver because you want to avoid any unwanted situations.

It can be challenging to lift disabled people to and from the toilet while at the same time being able to get their slacks down and back up again. That is why a Hoyer lift is of great help for anyone involved – for the carers because they don’t need to go through the hassle of doing complicated tasks at the same time and for the patients because they are much safer.

The right type of sling

Before learning how to properly use a Hoyer lift for toileting, you have to make sure that you are using the right type of sling. There are many different kinds of slings out there, and that is why you need to ensure that the one you have is suitable for your needs. In your case, for using the lift for the toilet, you should look for the one called split leg, hygiene, commode, or U-sling.

It is entirely up to you which one you prefer because we are all different and what works for someone might not work for you. You have to ask yourself a few questions in order to find out which model works best for you. Some of these types of slings are put on and patients can sit on them the whole day.

That is the case with the commode ones which feature a hole so that when patients need to go to the toilet they don’t need to take them off. If you are among those people who feel confident with this type of sling then this is the right choice for you. If not, there are the ones that can be taken off when not needed and simply put on when nature calls.

The latter is considered by many people more comfortable because they don’t have to sit on it all the time. Moreover, many individuals feel that hygiene slings allow caregivers to get their pants off and back on much easier. Also, if you find this task difficult, it is recommended that you try adaptive clothing like side zip pants.

Most individuals who have tried pants that have zippers on both sides say that they are very practical because they drop down very quickly and they are super easy to lift back up. Another useful solution is represented by those pants that have an open back. They make certain things, like using the toilet, less frustrating and time-consuming.


Placing the sling properly

If you are in charge of the well-being of someone with mobility issues you need to learn how to handle the patient in a safe and gentle way. Moreover, you need to understand how to properly use a toileting sling without putting anybody’s health at risk, including your own. As a caregiver, you have the responsibility to offer your patients the much-needed protection.

The first step will be to make sure that the wheels on the patient’s wheelchair are locked and then ask the patient to lean forward and tuck the sling in behind them. The next step is to pull the leg strap along the outside of the patient’s legs, making sure the strap doesn’t catch on any part of the wheelchair.

When you connect the support belt and the safety buckle you have to be very careful not to make it too tight. The patient needs to be safe, but this doesn’t mean that you have to make them feel uncomfortable. You need to keep in mind that safety and comfort go hand in hand, and they are both equally important for the good health of your patient.

Now, you have to pull the straps underneath and over your patient’s legs. The best way to do this without hurting your patient will be to position yourself in front of him/her and then gently raise each of his/her legs.

It is extremely important that you position the straps mid-thigh in order to offer him/her the most comfortable transfer. Once you have done all of these, the final step will be to cross the leg straps by pulling one strap through the other. You are ready to bring in your lift!

From wheelchair to toilet

It is time to learn how to use the lift, now that we have learned the right way to place a sling on a patient. So, after you’ve followed all the formerly mentioned steps you can get to the next part, which is the proper use of the lift.

We will start with the very beginning which requires your patient’s wheelchair to be locked, but not the lift. This means that you will have to approach your patient’s wheelchair with the lift and connect the sling to the lift bar.

Before proceeding with the lifting you have to make sure that the patient is fully inside the sling and none of the straps are caught in the wheelchair. By taking all the necessary time to check all these aspects, you eliminate the risk of potential accidents.

You have to remember to keep one hand on the patient when you begin lifting him/her in order to ensure that he/she is completely safe. Thanks to the fact that the wheelchair is locked but the lift is not, the lift will just move toward the patient instead of jerking him/her out of the chair.

Once the patient is lifted, it becomes very easy for you to just take them to the toilet. When the patient is positioned over the toilet, you have to lock the lift in place and pull his/her pants down. With one hand on the patient and one on the lift controls, lower the patient until he/she is fully seated on the toilet.

You can now take the lift out of the washroom and just wait for the patient to finish, and then you can bring the lift back in. With the same amount of care, you will lift the patient back up and return him/her to the wheelchair.




1) How well does a hoyer lift work

2) What is a Hoyer lift used for?

3) How to use a Hoyer Lift

4) Hoyer lift – an assistive device



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