Safety alert issued on the use of hoists

NHS care providers told to identify risks associated with the use of lifting equipment

A national patient safety warning has been issued on the risk of death or injuries resulting from falls from hoists.

The alert, issued by NHS England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), calls for all NHS care providers to identify risks within their organisation immediately and take action to prevent incidents from occurring.

Just under 100 incidents, including three deaths and nine severe injuries, have been reported by the National Reporting and Learning System and the MHRA over a recent four-year period.

The injuries included hip, leg and ankle fractures, head injuries and lacerations. They occurred in acute hospitals, care homes and individual’s own homes. The types of hoists involved include mechanical and electrical hoists, free-standing, ceiling or wallmounted hoists, and hoists used as bathing and standing aids.

Existing advice on training and supporting staff to use hoists safely has not always been implemented reliably and systematically, says the report. It advises NHS care providers to ensure that training on moving and handling is up to date, is relevant to the type of hoists in use and takes into account patients’ individual conditions.  

To read the full report, click here

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