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Learn about assisted transfers with hoists

We call any lifting of a person an assisted transfer. Whether it is by use of a manual patient stander or by an electronic fitted or portable hoist. 

Moving or carrying a person by yourself or others can be dangerous without training and can risk causing injury to the person being lifted or the person lifting. 

This is why there are usually 2 carers to carry out these procedures, who will normally use a portable (or mobile) hoist to undertake these tasks. However “single handed care” can be achieved with the right equipment and training.

There are many choices of models and types of lifting equipment for assisted transfers. Below are some hoist type descriptions, so that you can see their main differences and uses, along with advantages and disadvantages. 

We have included a cost breakdown at the bottom of the page of using a fitted hoist system that enables “single handed care” compared to 2 carers using a portable hoist to move a person a few times per day.

Mobile or portable hoists?


These are small, mobile devices that can be used to lift someone from a chair to a bed, from a bed to a commode etc. All mobile hoists for disabled people have been developed especially for the domestic care environment and with the patient in mind. 

However, they can be an issue for carers and loved ones as they require the ability to be pushed and manoeuvred by the carer/operator. They have the following advantages and disadvantages…


Portable, normally folds down to take up less space when not being used. Can be folded and placed into the boot of a car so can be taken to other locations if required.


Requires flat, level floors. They can be difficult to manoeuvre on carpets and require effort to move and position correctly. It is difficult to lift from normal domestic beds and seating without enough gap to allow the legs of the hoist to pass underneath. 

They require charging/plugging in and have a limited lift height capacity. The wheels/castors will need to be locked and then unlocked during the assisted transfer process.

Fitted ceiling track hoists

Fitted ceiling track hoist

A ceiling track hoist is normally fitted directly onto a ceiling above the area where it is required. If a ceiling is not able to support the weight of the user, then the weight can be transferred down the walls into the floor by using special support legs, fitted flat against the walls. 

The system comprises the rail and the cassette (the hoist itself). Ceiling track hoists are generally wired into the mains supply and are constantly charged. 

Room to room: We can also install a ceiling track hoist that covers multiple rooms, by clever use of junction plates and track selectors. Some hoists can also be linked to separate tracks which can be used with transfer straps, which allow track switching. 

A ceiling track hoist can be removed quickly and all that is left are a few mounting holes that can be easily filled and painted over.


Can be used to lift higher than a portable hoist, no need to remember to plug in after use. Easy to manoeuvre and position, the need for a level or un-carpeted floor is removed. 

Requires little or no effort by the carer and there is no need to lock and unlock wheels – as there aren’t any. Generally, a smoother quicker lift than a mobile hoist.


You need to decide up-front what areas of the property you will require this for. Although they are modular and can be re-purposed or modified by using different track configurations if required.

Gantry hoists

small gantry hoist at home

A gantry hoist is basically a portable ceiling track hoist. The only difference is that the cassette (hoist unit) is mounted on a portable frame with legs rather than fixed to a ceiling. Gantries are ideal if you only need the system for a short period of time. 

Sometimes we fit a gantry system as a temporary measure before we fit a ceiling track hoist, or for clients that do not want any holes drilled into their ceiling or walls.


If a property is unable to have a ceiling track hoist fitted then a gantry hoist system should be considered. 

Gantries normally have adjustable height and can be adjusted to different lengths as required. We also supply bariatric versions that can cater for clients up to 500kg. 

Ceiling height and amount of lift space available also need to be taken into account if using a gantry system.


Gantry hoists require a frame that has legs. These legs can sometimes get in the way, especially in a small room.

Standing hoists or patient lifters

standing hoist at home

A standing hoist is used when a person has difficulty standing but is still able to with some assistance. These are good for transferring from bed to chair or similar activities. Similar to a portable hoist but is not intended to be a complete full-body lift.


Good for quick transfers that involve sitting to stand and back again. Also good for transporting people in the sitting or semi-standing position.


Requires flat, level floors and can be difficult to manoeuvre on carpets. They require more effort to move and position correctly. It can be difficult to undertake a lift from normal domestic beds and seating as the legs of the stander need to pass under the furniture. 

They can put pressure on the lower legs, they are not normally suitable for people with limited joint movement in the knees, hips or legs.

Enabling Single Handed care - How the costs stack up...

Learn about assisted transfer Moving and handling
  • A mobile hoist used by two carers to support a person with bed transfers to a commode four times a day may cost £700 for the hoist and £35.00 per call (x 4 calls a day), at a daily cost of £140 a day.
  • Plus, if one carer is running late, the call gets delayed, and during times when a resource is stretched – like over Christmas for example – the requirement for two carers makes things a lot more challenging.
  • On the flip side, a ceiling track hoist may cost approx £3,000 upfront, but if it means that one carer can do the same job that would take two without the assisted transfer hoist, it’d take just 42 days for the cost of the hoist to be covered, releasing the second carer to help someone else.

If you are suffering from mobility issues and require help conducting some day-to-day tasks, we can help. We offer:

  • Help and guidance
  • Free surveys and assessments without any obligation
  • Installation of larger items like fitted hoists and stairlifts to enable you to move to other floors/levels of your home and take the strain of moving/conducting transfers
  • Smaller aides that can enable you to bathe, shower and toilet easier, and in safety
  • We offer a complete turn key service from initial survey to completed project

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