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Specific Patient Assessment for Assisted Moving

Assisted and Manual Patient Handling Risks

Carrying out risk assessments specific to manual or assisted patient transfers

Risk assessments help identify where injuries could occur and what to do to prevent them. If you are using patient hoists, transfer aids, slings or any other related equipment you may require assistance with assessment. Whilst nobody knows your business better than you, specific equipment assessment may require additional support from the manufacturer or an independent assessment company. Whoever carries out your assessment must be competent in identifying and addressing the risks from the most complex patient handling activities you may undertake. All of Silvalea’s trainers and assessors can help support and advise you with individual assessments for specific conditions and specific patient transfer scenarios. Silvalea are happy to work with your internal occupational therapists, nursing staff or care managers for generic and individual risk assessments in this area of moving and handling.

Generic risk assessments - identifying handling aid risk

All assessments should identify manual handling tasks which require transfer aids; such as slide sheets, turning devices, hoists, and stand aids. Whilst all of these transfer aids have been designed to minimise the manual handling load for staff and caregivers by being capable of lifting, assisted lifting and moving users in safety. All transfer aids mechanical or not should also be fit for intended purpose (location/type of lift), should be regularly maintained and in full working order, all of these devices should also be suitable for the comfort and condition of the resident. Again manufacturers of equipment should be able to support you with this type of assessment by providing you with guidance on usage and/or full equipment training. Providing adequate equipment training and resources to your risk assessor will help them to identify, document and reduce risks as far as reasonably practical.

Individual risk assessments - assisted and manual patient handling risks

Everything that Silvalea stands for as a company is reflected in the risk assessment for individual users. Silvalea provide a user-centric approach to their product manufacturer, trainer and assessors; being person-centred in order to provide maximum safety, comfort and dignity for all of their end users lies at the heart of their ethos and forms Silvalea’s mission statement.

Silvalea believe that this approach should be applied to all individual assessments whether for risk purposes or assessments for equipment selections and decisions. They also advise involving not just the user, but recommend involving the family in decisions wherever possible to ensure that the individuals needs are met. This helps to reassure the individual and their family not only about the safety and comfort of equipment, how the equipment will be deployed or how methods used will reduce risks in patient transfer for the safety of all, but also creates enhanced confidence in the general level of care given and raises the level of awareness of the complex challenges involved.

A person’s needs and abilities can change over the course of a day. Caregivers, nursing staff and ancillary support should understand the impact this may have on moving and handling practices and equipment.

Some end users may become upset or agitated when being moved or have strong extensor patterning or sudden rapid movement. Others, though willing to assist at the start of an assisted transfer, may find themselves unable to continue by the end.

Training is vital during these circumstances to prevent injury arising. Specialist advice from occupational therapists, equipment manufacturers, physiotherapists, and manual handling advisors should be sought to for specific moving and handling needs.


1.     Height

2.     Body shape

3.     Weight and BMI

4.     Ability to assist in transfer

5.     Amputation

6.     Balance and support

7.     Conditions

8.     Ability to comply and behavioral characteristics

9.     Skin condition

All of these checks are considered when selecting any medical transfer device. Continue to use the check list at different points during an assessment to make sure each piece of equipment, staff, transfer aids have been selected correctly and all risk managed as possible.

The HSE recommend the following for individual risk assessment:

‘Record the risk assessment and care plan. Include detail on the individual’s moving and handling needs, day and night, specifying:

1. What the user of the care service is able/unable to do independently.

2. The extent of the individual’s ability to support their own weight and any other relevant factors, for example pain, disability, spasm, fatigue, tissue viability or tendency to fall.

3. The extent to which the individual can participate in/co-operate with transfers whether the individual needs assistance to reposition themselves/sit up when in their bed/chair and how this will be achieved, eg. provision of an electric profiling bed.

4. The specific equipment needed – including bariatric where necessary – and, if applicable, type of bed, bath and chair, as well as specific handling equipment, type of hoist and sling; sling size and attachments.

5. The assistance needed for different types of transfer, including the number of staff needed – although hoists can be operated by one person, hoisting tasks often require two staff to ensure safe transfer.

6. The arrangements for reducing the risk and for dealing with falls, if the individual is at risk.’