3 Essential Manual Handling Tools for Occupational Therapists

As healthcare providers, Occupational Therapists play a critical role in improving the quality of life for patients suffering from injuries, disabilities, or illnesses. One of the challenges OTs face is the physical strain that comes with lifting and transferring patients. Manual handling tasks can lead to injuries, fatigue, and burnout among therapists, significantly impacting the quality of care they provide. Fortunately, various manual handling equipment options can assist therapists in their daily tasks and improve patient outcomes. Let's explore how manual handling equipment, including patient lifters, stand aids, and recliner chairs, can help occupational therapists provide better care and improve the quality of life for their patients.

What is Manual Handling Equipment?

Manual handling equipment refers to any equipment that can assist with the movement of patients or heavy objects. This equipment includes but is not limited to, hoists, slings, transfer boards, and slide sheets. Manual handling equipment is essential in occupational therapy because it can improve the safety and comfort of patients during activities of daily living.


Why is Manual Handling Equipment Important for Occupational Therapy?

Manual handling equipment is essential in occupational therapy because it can improve patient outcomes in several ways:

Safety: Using manual handling equipment can reduce the risk of injury to both the patient and the therapist. When patients are lifted or moved manually, there is a risk of strain or injury to the therapist. Manual handling equipment reduces this risk by providing a stable and safe means of moving patients.

Comfort: Manual handling equipment can improve patients' comfort during daily living activities. For example, a hoist can lift a patient from a bed to a wheelchair, reducing the need for uncomfortable and strenuous manual lifting. This can improve the patient's overall quality of life by reducing pain and discomfort.

Independence: Manual handling equipment can enable patients to carry out activities of daily living independently. For example, a transfer board can help someone move from a bed to a wheelchair without assistance, allowing them to maintain their independence and self-esteem.

Efficiency: Using manual handling equipment can save time and improve efficiency in occupational therapy. For example, a hoist can lift a patient more quickly and safely than manual lifting, allowing therapists to focus on other aspects of patient care.

3 essential manual handling tools for Occupational Therapists and your clients

Passive Lifters

Passive lifters are the ultimate tool for lifting people with little to no mobility. These lifters use patient lifting slings to hold the user comfortably while undertaking the transfer. This significantly reduces the amount of manual handling performed by the carer, reducing the risk of injury.

Passive lifter

Below are examples of high-quality passive lifters.

Oxford Advance

The Oxford Advance is a mobile floor hoist that can transfer patients from a bed to a wheelchair or vice versa. It can also assist patients with standing and walking and bathing, dressing, and grooming. The hoist is easy to manoeuvre and operate, making it a popular choice for occupational therapists.

Oxford Advance

Oxford Presence

The Oxford Presence is a more advanced hoist system suitable for a broader range of patient transfers. It has a larger lifting capacity than the Oxford Advance and is compatible with various slings. The Oxford Presence has additional add-on features, including a scale for weighing patients and a powered traverse system for easier transfers.


Elara Ceiling Hoist

The Elara Ceiling Hoist is a ceiling-mounted hoist that can transfer patients from a bed to a wheelchair or vice versa. The ceiling-mounted design of the hoist allows for better manoeuvrability and makes it ideal for use in small spaces. The hoist is operated by a handheld control, making it easy to use for both patients and therapists.

Elara Ceiling Hoist

Active Lifters / Stand Aids

Active lifters are an excellent tool for people who need assistance standing. They may have limited mobility but still have a level of core strength to help lift themselves.

Below are a couple of examples of active lifters.

Oxford Up

The Oxford Up is a transfer aid for patients with limited mobility or requiring assistance with standing and walking. The aid supports the patient's torso and arms, allowing them to stand up with minimal help. The Oxford Up is great for sitting transfers, such as transferring a patient from a wheelchair to a toilet.

Oxford Up

Oxford Switch

The Oxford Switch is a transfer aid for users who require assistance with standing and walking but who have some weight-bearing ability. The aid supports the patient's torso and arms but allows the patient to take some weight on their legs. The Oxford Switch is ideal for both sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transfers.

Oxford Switch

Rise Recliner Chair

A recliner chair isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when considering manual handling. But with a rise function, these chairs can help guide the user out of the chair, helping them stand. This feature is excellent for people with less mobility or strength in their knees or who struggle to keep their balance when they stand.


Configura Comfort

The Configura comfort is an excellent choice in recliner chairs as it has multiple rise options, including a vertical rise.

Configura Comfort

Manual handling equipment in occupational therapy is crucial for improving patient outcomes. By choosing the right equipment for each patient's needs, occupational therapists can improve safety, comfort, and independence during activities of daily living. The Oxford Advance, Oxford Presence, and Elara Ceiling Hoist are excellent options for transferring patients from a bed to a wheelchair, while the Oxford Up, Oxford Switch, and Configura Comfort can assist patients with standing and walking.

When using manual handling equipment in occupational therapy, it is essential to use it safely and correctly. Therapists should receive training on how to use the equipment properly and follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

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