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All About Ceiling Lifts

What is a ceiling lift?

A ceiling lift is a motorized device that lifts and transfers a person from point to point along an overhead track. The track can be ceiling mounted, or may be portable (self-standing or free-standing track). The device incorporates a sling for the person being transferred. Hospitals have used ceiling lifts for many years, but they are now also available for home installation. Ceiling lifts make it possible for people to stay in the comfort of their own homes rather than in a hospital.

Types of Ceiling Lifts

There are two main types of ceiling lifts: fixed or installed ceiling track lifts, and portable ceiling lifts.

Nurse using a portable ceiling lift on patient in a sling
A portable ceiling lift is commonly used for shorter term use along with a gantry frame.
ceiling track lifts
A fixed ceiling lift features installed ceiling track that can be configured to service more than one room.

Fixed ceiling lifts are operated on an installed ceiling track. The track is securely installed to the ceiling to safely meet the load requirements of the lift. If the installation is in a home setting, the track might run from the bedroom to a bathroom area to allow safe movement of a person between two points. Healthcare facilities install ceiling track lifts to service multiple beds in one room. Tracks can be built to accommodate all kinds of room-to-room designs.

Portable ceiling lifts are typically used for shorter term use and are usually operated on a gantry style frame that fits over the bed. This allows safe movement and transfer or a person to a wheelchair.

How Does a Ceiling Lift Work?

A ceiling lift uses a rechargeable battery to power a motor that hoists a person in a sling up and down. The lift can then be moved by hand or with a powered feature for side to side motion, or to follow a track to another point. A ceiling lift is not intended to be operated by the patient, it requires operation by another person.

The sling is fitted for the person’s size and abilities. Some slings can worn for toileting and showering as well. Ceiling lifts are a much safer way to move a person – ensuring both the safety of the patient as well as the prevention of injury for a caregiver.

Man in sling using a portable ceiling lift at home with assistance from family
A sling hooks onto the lift to safely carry the user.