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Can I use an electric overhead hoist at home, without installing it on the ceiling?

Last Updated: 22nd October 2014

Electric overhead hoists can be a space-saving and convenient transfer option for the home.  Overhead hoists are also often better suited for lifting and transferring heavier residents, with some devices capable of lifting up to 500kg.  They are usually installed on the ceiling, and require professional installation to ensure the ceiling structure will support the hoist and the person being lifted, during use.  If the ceiling is not suited for installation, an overhead hoist that fastens to the walls can be used.


There are also overhead hoists available on freestanding frames, when it is not feasible to have a structural installation.  This might be due to the home being rented or being a heritage building, or if the overhead hoist is only to be used for a limited time.  These freestanding overhead hoists are becoming more affordable for home use and being designed for ease of assembly.  They are even available as a complete package with frames, motor and slings, which can be purchased online. 


However, a freestanding overhead hoist should not be considered an off-the-shelf, DIY device.  The selection of a freestanding overhead hoist still requires the same care as an overhead hoist that is installed in a structural home modification.  Using a hoist has risks for the person being lifted, and the person operating the hoist.  Incorrect use or failure of the hoist can result in serious injury. 


Hoists should comply with the Australian and international performance and safety requirements in Australian/NewZealand Standard™ AS/NZS ISO 10535:2011.  It is essential that the correct type of overhead hoist frame, motor unit, controls and slings are selected, both for the weight and mobility of the person being lifted, and the capability of the person operating the hoist.   The hoist also needs to be safe for the types of transfer being undertaken and all environments it will be used in.  An occupational therapist needs to be consulted to assess the suitability of the hoist, and ensure users can safely operate and maintain it. 


For more information on arranging home modifications, including freestanding overhead hoists, call the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (HMinfo) on 1800 305 486, or download the HMinfo Factsheet: Arranging Home Modifications on www.homemods.info.

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