Patient lifts in Elderly-Care

By Leena Tamminen-Peter 15.12.2012

Patient lifts in Elderly-Care


Elderly care
Ergonomics and usability of patient lifts in elderly care

Virpi Fagerström, MSc, PT,  Leena Tamminen-Peter, PhD, TPT

An ergonomic evaluation

of patient lifts’ usability and the physical load of nurses in different transfer situations were carried out in elderly care. The aim of the study was to provide ergonomic advice on how to purchase optimal hoists in a new elderly care hospital. Overhead ceiling lifts, mobile hoists and stand aids were tested in different patient transfer situations. In the user trials, 12 nurses transferred elderly patients with different lifts and estimated their usability and their own strain using the CR-10 scale. A total of 102 usability tests were carried out.

Transfer situations were filmed

and nurse’s postures were analysed by the REBA method and transfer time was also measured. In addition, five physiotherapists carried out an expert evaluation. The physical load was minor when using any one of the lifts; the least strenuous load was when using overhead ceiling lifts. Arms and shoulders were more strained than the back. Setting patient’s feet on the footrests of stand aid lifts or removing the footrests of wheelchairs induced the most strenuous work postures for nurses. The average time spent using lifts was 3:21 minutes. There were significant differences in the ease of service and safe usage of overhead ceiling lifts.

Mobile hoists

differed in the usage of slings and spreader bar, and there were also differences in the movability and adjustability of the base stand aid. Usage of patient lifts decreases the physical load of nurses in transfer situations. The strenuous work postures found in the study can be minimised by ergonomic teaching. Patient lifts should be taken for trial usage in the actual environment before making purchase decisions.
The results of this study can be used for the development, purchase and usage of patient lifts.



Keywords: assistance, ergonomics, usability, patient transfer, hoist, lifts

HOITOTIEDE 2010, 22 (2), 118–128


Leena Tamminen-Peter, Researcher, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Turku,
tel. 040 544 7134,
email from:  letampe[at]gmail[dot]com




June 30, 2010 · Leena Tamminen-Peter · No Comments
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