How to Apply a Lifting Sling

Moving and handling specialists will always emphasise the importance of knowing how to apply a lifting/hoist sling to a patient. Whether it’s when they are in bed or sitting in a chair, you should always know the correct procedures to put a sling on someone to ensure that they are being lifted in the safest way possible.

We’ve put this guide together to help you refresh your knowledge on the best way to fit a sling to someone laid down and someone sat in a chair.

Applying a hoisting sling to someone in bed

Step 1: Gently roll the individual on to their side, ensuring that their knees are slightly bent to stop them from rolling further.

Step 2: Roll up half of the sling lengthways, with the label on the inside. Place it behind the individual on the bed, and make sure the bottom of the sling is just behind the knees.

Step 3: With the half-rolled sling in the correct position, gently roll the individual back over to the other side so that they are on the laid-out part of the sling. Unroll the rest of the sling so that it is completely flat on the bed.

Step 4: Carefully roll the individual on to their back, placing their hands by their sides in doing so. Make sure that the leg pieces are correctly positioned underneath the legs, and ensure that the shoulders are in the right place.

Step 5: Attach the shoulder straps and the modesty loop to the appropriate spreader bar, and make sure that the individual has good head support if needed.

Applying a hoisting sling to someone in a chair

Step 1: Gently shuffle the sling down behind the individual until the leg extensions are down at the bottom of the chair.

Step 2: Pull the leg extensions down to the same level as the hips (or a little lower) and pull each side down along the side of the legs and then under the legs.

Step 3: If it isn’t already, make sure the sling is sitting across the back and shoulders of the person to support them. At this point, the leg loops (the longer ones) should be between the person’s legs and the shoulder loops (the shorter ones) will be next to or just in front of the shoulder.

Step 4: Attach the shoulder and legs loops to the appropriate spreader bar, and double check that the sling is in the right place to support the user’s body. Provide additional head support if necessary.


These are two of the easiest ways you can get a someone in a hoist sling, but there are other methods that are taught and practised. If you can think of any other scenarios where you need to apply a lifting sling, then let us know in the comments below and we can take a look at those too!

Related articles

Lucie Hudson
Previous articleYorkshire Care supplies over 50 Raizers to emergency services
Next articleSpecialist seating for people with arthritis


  1. Tristan Hulbert says:

    Useful article! The Easyglide Oval boards ( are also great for helping to apply slings – give the Yorkshire Care Equipment team a call if you want to discuss how they work.

  2. Debbie says:

    Does anyone else teach sling insertion in sitting (where able) when using a profiling bed. Inserting sling behind user to avoid unnecessary rolling. We use the good old bed ladders to help users sit forwards sometimes. I find it works really well but doesn’t seem to be included in many instruction guides.

    1. Lucie Hudson says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for your comment. Indeed the bed ladders technique is still widely used, but there is an alternative way of applying a lifting sling to someone sat up in a profiling bed using oval boards.

      1) When the person is sat upright, place two oval boards between their back and the backrest itself. Push these right down until they are touching the base of the mattress (where the individual’s posterior is).
      2) Put the sling between the two oval boards, and move it further down until it is tucked slightly underneath the individual’s posterior.
      3) Remove the oval board (leaving the sling in place), and then move each leg piece down along each side of the legs.
      4) Tuck the leg sections underneath the person’s legs, and connect the rest of the sling to the spreader bar.

      It’s always worth knowing a few ways to get the job done – and of course items like bed ladders and oval boards are crucial to making this easier for carers and patients.


  3. JS says:

    When using a toileting sling is it the law to cross the loops at the leg end of the sling? I’m trying to find out if this is a legal requirement or not.
    Thank you

    1. Lucie Hudson says:

      Hello there,

      As far as we’re aware there isn’t a formal ‘legal requirement’, but you should only use a hoisting sling in the way that it has been specified to be used. You should do your own risk assessment to work out the best positioning options for the client and cross the leg straps of the sling to help with abduction if necessary.


  4. Janet Julings says:




    1. Leanne Godfrey says:

      Hello Janet,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear you’re suffering with pressure sores.

      The steps in this guide cover the best practice for applying lifting slings. But there are other techniques available.

      Who is help you with applying the lifting sling? If they are a healthcare professional with moving and handling training, they should be able to safely lift you to apply the sling.

      If you need any further help with moving and handling, or treating your pressure sores, please let me know. I’ll be happy to put you in touch with a member of the team to discuss further.

      Kind Regards,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>