In our last blog post we walked you through the basic steps involved in the sling selection process. To recap, the selection of a sling as with all safe patient handling and mobility solutions requires a through clinical assessment, risk assessment, and sound clinical judgement. This month we will guide you through the steps and tips and tricks for the application of a Universal Sling in a chair.
The application of the Universal Sling can be broken down into 5 Basic Steps beginning and ending with safety checks.
Perform the Sling Pre-User Inspection
The process of applying a Universal Sling in a chair involves performing the pre-use sling inspection to ensure the sling is in good working order. The sling is checked to ensure there are no visible signs of damage; no holes, rips, tears, frays, discoloration, and the stitching should be intact. The pre use sling inspection also includes a visual inspection of the sling label to ensure that it is legible and not compromised. The sling label provides identifying information such as the serial number, the sling style, size, safe working load (SWL), and laundry instructions necessary for safe use.
If the sling does not pass inspection, follow your site or facilities policies, procedures & protocols with regards to removing the sling from circulation.
Apply the Sling Body Behind the User's Back
There are two basic scenarios with the application of the sling body in a seated position.
The first scenario involves the user who can lean forward independently or with caregiver assistance.
With individuals who can lean forward in the chair, place the sling body behind their back with the label facing out. The midline of the sling should be aligned with the spine and the centre arch is aligned with the coccyx.
In the second scenario with individuals who are unable to lean forward due to medical conditions, pain, stiffness, tone, decreased ROM and so on, an alternative solution will be required. The large EasyGlide Ovals, Slider Sheets, or the Comfort Care Sling may be options.
Apply the Leg Bands under the User's Thighs
Next the leg bands of the sling are applied under the individual's thighs. Some individuals may be able to assist with leg band application by creating space under their thighs; by going up on their toes or using their upper body strength to lift the thigh up. If the individual requires assistance to create space under their thighs the FootStool placed under the feet may be an option -remember to remove it post leg band application to prevent slips, trips, or falls.
For individuals who are unable to assist, the small EasyGlide Ovals may be an option. Another leg band application method can be viewed in this video featuring the Universal PolySlip Sling utilizing the low friction, SlipFit material to facilitate the application.
Next, based on your clinical assessment, risk assessment, and your clinical judgement you may choose to criss-cross the leg bands, which is the most used application, or apply the leg bands in a closed or open position.
Apply the Sling Straps/Loops to the Lift Carry Bar
With the sling in place, the lift's carry bar is lowered, and the sling's straps are applied via the loops for this loop style sling. The various loops within the straps allow caregivers to position the individual in a seated to a more reclined position for the lift and transfer.
For a more upright seated position the shortest loop at the shoulder straps and the longest loop at the leg straps are applied to the carry bar, for a more reclined position the longest loops at the shoulder straps and the shortest loop at the leg straps are applied to the carry bar.
Perform the Safety Checks Post Application
Once the sling has been attached to the carry bar the safety checks are performed to ensure the sling is a good fit for the individual. The individual is raised off the chair surface until the straps are tensioned and then checked to ensure they are securely in place. Next the individual is lifted off the surface and checked to ensure they are not migrating through the commode opening. Also ensure the individual is comfortable, well supported, safe, and secure in the sling before proceeding with the lift and transfer.
There you have it, the 5 Steps to Applying a Universal Sling with Safety Checks
For more information on Universal Sling application consult the user manual and video located on the Handicare website or feel free to connect with us at Handicare with your sling questions & training needs.
We hope you found this blog post on sling application helpful.