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Safe patient handling

Children's is committed to providing the safest care possible. As a part of our safety program, we use a mechanical lift to help prevent injuries to patients and staff.

Who needs a lift?

Each patient will be assessed during the admission interview and after procedures, to determine how much help is needed for lifting and moving. A lift is not used for those who can walk or can get in and out of bed with just a little help. People heal better and feel better when they use their own muscles.

Patients do need a lift if they:

  • weigh 35 pounds or more, and
  • need help moving in bed, getting in and out of a bed, chair, bathtub, or other surface.

The lift will help staff lift and move a patient safely and comfortably.

How does the lift work?

The lift has a latex-free cloth sling or sheet held by a metal sling bar. Before and during the use of the lift, staff will explain what will happen. First the cloth sling will be put under the child. Then the sling will be connected to the sling bar. The lift will hold your child securely and raise him or her slowly off the surface. It will feel like being in a hammock or sling chair. Then the lift will be moved to reposition your child and the lift will slowly lower him or her.

The lift will feel different than being moved by staff members. However, it is much safer for your child and for staff. Staff will be right next to your child, focusing on him or her during the move. Most patients find this to be a comfortable and secure way of being moved. Many enjoy the feeling!

How should I prepare my child for this new way of being moved?

Use simple words to explain why the lift is needed, such as "to move you safely and comfortably." Explain what will happen, especially what your child might see, hear, and feel. Answer as many questions as you can. Let your child know it is all right to ask questions during the move, too.

Tell your child what is expected ahead of time, such as, "Your job is to hold still and let the sling pick you up." This will help your child feel more secure and successful. Until your child gets used to it, you might want to hold hands and offer praise and reassurance. Praise your child when the lifting or moving is done.


If you have any questions, please ask your child's nurse. If you would like information about lifts for home use, please ask your care manager.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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