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How to use a Hoyer Lift

Hoyer Lifts allow a person to be lifted and transferred with a minimum of physical effort. Before attempting to lift anyone practice with the lifter by using a helper, not the patient. You must know and understand how the lifter will feel with a patient in it. Be certain to explain the lifting sequence to the patient before attempting to lift them the first time.


Lift Basics:

The Boom of the lift does not swivel. The patient's weight must be centered over the base legs at all times. Do not attempt to lift patient with the mast/boom assembly swiveled to either side. Always keep patient facing the attendant operating the lifter.


Looking to Buy a Patient Lift? See our Hoyer - Patient Lift Catalog



Typical Hoyer Patient Lift diagram:
  • Manual and Powered Hoyer Lifts operate similarly. The manual versions have hydraulic cylinders and a hand-pump, the powered patient lifters use rechargeable battery packs and a pushbutton hand control. All lifts share the same nomenclature names as pictured (left).
  • To raise the patient the base of the Hoyer Lifter must be spread to it's widest possible position to maximize stability.
  • To lower patient open the hydraulic pressure release knob by turning it counter-clockwise, not more than one full turn. The release knob is located on pump near pump handle. Battery powered Lifters have a button on the hand control for lowering patient.

Transfer from Bed:
If patient needs support and is in a Hospital Bed, raise any 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. This will reduce strain on the caregiver's back. Also, when the patient is ready to be lifted, lower the side rail and the level of the bed, decreasing the distance the patient has to be elevated.

Positioning the Lift for Use:
  1. With the legs of the base open and locked, use the steering handle to push the patient lift into position.
  2. Lower the patient lift for easy attachment of the sling.
Using Hoyer Lift

  • When the patient is clear of the bed surface, swing their feet off the bed.
  • Using the steering handle, move the lift away from the bed.
  • When moving the patient lift away from the bed, turn the patient so that he/she faces assistant operating the patient lift.
  • Press the DOWN button (electric) or open the control valve (manual/hydraulic) lowering patient so that his feet rest on the base of the lift, straddling the mast. Close the control valve.
Moving the Patient




Patient Lifts



The Sling

The U-Sling is the most commonly used sling for transferring patient from bed. Consult the sling manual on how to fold the sling before placing under patient. Folding the sling makes for less work. These U-Sling wraps around the thigh and cross between the legs. This gives the patient a secure feel and prevents patient sliding out of the sling.

Below is a diagram of a typical "Internet image" (see diagram 1) of a padded U-Sling. The image is meaningless if you do not have a visual of what this looks like when in actual use. See diagram 2 showing the patient in a comfortable seated position facing the attendant. Patient's feet can rest on the base of the lift.

Typical U-Sling
diagram 1
Typical U-Sling diagram (Internet image)
diagram 2
Visual of sling being used by patient

U-Sling diagram
U-Sling actual in-use

Applying the Sling:
  • Roll patient so the are resting on their side. Put the folded sling behind patient's back and roll patient onto their back.
  • Pull the leg loops forward and under the thigh.
  • Cross the loops
  • Roll the base as far under the bed as possible locating the cradle over the patient. Be careful not lower the frame onto the patient.
  • The parking brakes (caster locks) should not be on when lifting the patient, let the lift move a little with the weight adjustment.
  • When both sides of the sling are attached to their respective sides of the cradle, raise the patient slowly. If patient is in a hospital bed it will help to raise the head section slightly.
  • Raise the patient until buttocks are just above the mattress. The self-leveling cradle will bring patient into a sitting position. Grasp patient's legs and turn patient so their legs dangle off side off the bed. Do not push or pull patient off of bed. Lower bed if you need more clearance.
  • Grasp steering handles and move lifter away from the bed. Move patient into position over the seat of wheelchair. Make sure wheelchair brakes are on.
  • Lower patient into wheelchair or other transport device.

How to Fit Sling From Lying Position

Using sling from lying position

Draw sheet roll the patient onto the sling, ensuring that the top of the commode aperture is at the base of the spine.

Patient in seated position

Bring the leg support straps up and between the client's legs and proceed as from the seated position, attaching to the shortest possible loops. If you are going to place the patient on a high bed it may be necessary to lower the patient onto an intermediate surface and adjust the strap length.



Both Invacare and Hoyer provide a basic Owner's Manual that includes the (basic) instructions for using a Patient Lift.
You can download these owner's manuals here if it's helpful:

Reliant RPL450-1 Owners Manual

HPL402 User Manual




See all Patient Lifts & Slings


Continue to page 2: How to use a Hoyer Lift Sling

Guide to Types of Slings

Return to main Patient Lift page