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The Guide to Moving and Handling Equipment in Care Homes

Updated: May 6

a carer giving instruction on how a mobile hoist works

In care homes moving and handling equipment is used to assist caregivers in safely moving residents. Some equipment helps residents move around independently. This equipment improves safety, comfort and for everyone in care homes.


In this Article:


What is Moving and Handling in Care?

When working in care moving and handling refers to the act of physically assisting someone on moving from one location to another, for example a carer assisting a patient in getting out of their bed and into their wheelchair. This can involve using someone's physical strength or the use of moving and handling equipment in cases where it would be safer and more comfortable to do so.


Types of Moving and Handling Equipment in Care Homes

There are many types of equipment that is used for moving and handling assistance in care homes, for example:


Hoists are used mainly to lift residents from one place to another, they are designed to be comfortable for the resident whilst also reducing the risk of injury on the part of the caregiver.

There are a few different types of hoists that are used in care homes:

  • Ceiling hoists that are permanent fixtures mounted to tracks on the ceiling of the residents room. These hoists are convenient in some cases where there is very little floor space.

  • Mobile hoists are transportable hoists mounted onto wheels which allows them to easily be moved from one room to another. They are commonly used for standing or lifting patients and are very convenient when moving patients short distances. They also take the strain out of the task of the caregiver by using hydraulic or electric mechanisms.

  • Standing Hoists are the least versatile of the three and although they serve the same purpose as the other two hoists they lack the ability to be easily transported. They are best used for getting patients in and out of bed comfortably but cannot be used over distance.

Transfer Boards

Transfer boards are used to move residents over short gaps from one place to another, for example between their bed and wheelchair. They are less hassle to use than a hoist and can be more cost effective if the resident still has some form of mobility.

Transfer Sheets

The role of transfer sheets is to help reduce friction when moving a resident. They are useful when needing to move someone whilst they are still in bed, for example they need turning over or repositioning so they are more comfortable.


Wheelchairs are the most well known type of moving aid. They are used in cases where a person cannot work or has difficulty walking. In cases where the patient still has strong use of their arms they are able to retain their independence by being able to move about without the assistance of others, alternatively they can be pushed by their caregiver allowing them to still get form A to B comfortably.

Walking Frames

Walking frames are great for people with limited use of their legs as they allow residents to move around independently by bearing some of their bodyweight onto their arms or shoulders. These movement aids also allow for the residents to exercise which helps them retain their mobility unlike wheelchairs.

Hand Rails

Hand rails are used to provide some assistance to residents when they need extra support, such as in bathrooms and long hallways. They are a great addition to a care home as they promote both independence and safety for residents in a dignified manner.

Bath Lifts

Bath lifts help residents use bathing facilities safely without risk of slipping on a wet surface. They also assist residents in staying in a comfortable position whilst bathing without putting too much strain on them. Bath lifts essential site level with the top rim of the bath, once the user has sat down they are able to descend the seat into the bath without using any kind of strain, reducing the risk of injury. Once the client has finished in the path they simply push the incline button on the bath lift and they will be lifted back out of the bath to the position they started in.


These types of lifts are used solely for helping residents get up and down staircases. They are very useful for residents that still have some mobility and allows them to travel without assistance from a carer. They also allow carers to move patients with very poor mobility up and down stairs in a safe manner.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds are able to be adjusted to many different positions to improve the clients comfort and support. These can be a great addition to a care environment especially in cases where a patient may be stuck in bed for prolonged periods of time. This type of equipment can be easily operated by both the patient and the carer.


a wheelchair

The Role of Moving and Handling Equipment in Care

There are many different advantages that moving and handling equipment provides when used in a care setting.

  • Independence - A vital aspect of everyone's personality, independence gives people a sense of pride. It can be very distressing for people to lose this trait as they suffer with old age or illness. Equipment such as wheelchairs, walking frames and grab rails all encourage those with limited mobility to move around safely.

  • Safety - The safety of both patients and carers is crucial when working in a care setting. Manual handling incidents are the most common form of injury for those working in care homes. All of the equipment used in care homes aims to provide some form of additional safety / risk reduction for carers and residents.

  • Comfort - Being hauled out of a bed and into a wheelchair by hand can be very uncomfortable for patients and can also cause them injury. This is why much of the equipment used in care homes is designed to be as comfortable as possible in order to reduce the stress placed on the patient when being moved.

  • Legal Compliance - There are guidelines set by the care quality commission to make sure that all care standards are being met in care homes. There is also legislation in place such as the Health and Social Care Act 2008 that states what standard of care should be provided to all those who require it in the UK.


Tile in moving and handling graphic

TILE in Moving and Handling?

Tile stands for Task, Individual, Load and Environment. It is an acronym used in order to identify the risks and hazards involved with a Moving and Handling task. This is so you can properly reduce these risks by putting the appropriate control measures in place.

Here is a more in depth look at what each letter stands for:

T - Task

The task should be assessed to determine the risks involved when carrying out the job in order to give you an idea of the possible ways to reduce these risks. This is a general assessment of the hazards involved in carrying out the task.

I - Individual

The individual should be taken into consideration when carrying out the task to ensure they are the correct person for the job. Factors such as physical impairments and training should be kept in mind as another individual may be better trained and more competent in carrying out the task.

L - Load

The weight of the load should be assessed to make sure the carer has the strength to carry out the task safely. Other factors such as the shape and texture of the load should be considered in order to properly apply control measures and reduce risk. For example if carrying an item with sharp edges the appropriate PPE should be worn.

E - Environment

Finally, the environment should be assessed for hazards and a clear route set out for the individual. Lighting and floor conditions should also be taken into consideration to reduce the risk of falling.


nurses being trained in the use of hoists

Training in the use of Moving and Handling Equipment

Guidelines set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) state that anybody operating a piece of moving and handling equipment should be properly trained in order to do so. This ensures the safety of both the carer & the patient and gives the carer knowledge of what equipment is appropriate in each setting.

Training also gives the carer a greater understanding of how to move their patients in a comfortable manor, improving their quality of life and fostering a better relationship between the two parties. Staff training also ensures the carer is competent and has an understanding of how the body can be harmed by poor moving and handling techniques.


Manufacturers of Moving and Handling Equipment in Care

When selecting moving and handling equipment for care environments, choosing reputable manufacturers that provide safe and durable products is essential. There are many companies globally that manufacture care equipment.

Here is a list of some of the most reputable manufacturers in this field:

  1. ArjoHuntleigh: Specializes in a wide range of patient handling and mobility products, including lifts, slings, medical beds, and bathing solutions. ArjoHuntleigh is known for its emphasis on improving the quality of care and the working conditions of healthcare staff.

  2. Hill-Rom: Offers an extensive portfolio of medical equipment, including patient lifts, hospital beds, and therapeutic surfaces. Hill-Rom is recognized for its innovative solutions designed to enhance outcomes for patients and caregivers.

  3. Invacare: A leading manufacturer of wheelchairs, respiratory products, and other home and long-term care medical products. Invacare focuses on designing products that promote recovery and active lifestyles.

  4. Stryker: Known for its medical devices and equipment, Stryker offers a range of products, including emergency patient transport, hospital beds, and furniture. Their products are designed to enhance patient care and safety.

  5. Guldmann: Specializes in ceiling hoists and lifting equipment that aim to improve the work environment for caregivers and the quality of life for people with disabilities. Their products are designed for efficiency, safety, and comfort.

  6. Handicare: Offers solutions for patient transfer and mobility, including stairlifts, transfer aids, and bathroom safety products. Handicare is committed to making everyday life easier for disabled and elderly people and their caregivers.

  7. Etac: Provides a wide range of assistive devices for elderly and disabled people, including manual transfer aids, bathroom safety products, and mobility aids. Etac is known for its ergonomic design and user-friendly products.

  8. Joerns Healthcare: Offers a comprehensive range of patient handling and wound care products designed to promote healing and improve care quality. Their products include lifts, beds, and therapeutic support surfaces.

  9. Prism Medical UK: Specializes in moving, handling, and bathing equipment for the elderly and disabled, focusing on solutions that enable mobility while ensuring caregiver safety.

  10. Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare: Known for a broad range of mobility products and daily living aids, Drive DeVilbiss aims to enhance the quality of life for people with special needs and those who care for them.

It is important to know the needs of your patient and care setting when choosing equipment from a manufacture. Also products must meet the required safety and quality standards to be used in the UK, this is important if you want to stay compliant with UK legislation and also gives the patient and the carer assurance that the equipment is safe and reliable.


Considering the Clients Mental Health when choosing Moving and Handling Aids

When choosing a manual handling aid it is important to make sure the equipment meets both their physical and mental needs in order to ensure the patients wellbeing is being respected.


Introducing new equipment can be stressful for clients, making clear instructions and understanding of its operation helps the client feel more comfortable. It's important to ease the distress by gradually introducing and familiarizing them with the equipment, ensuring they feel safe and reducing emotional distress.

Cognitive State

If a client has a form of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease, they may struggle to remember how there equipment works. In this case simplicity is an important factor when choosing what equipment suits the clients needs.


Independence is another vital part of a persons quality of life so it is often advised that the equipment chosen to aid someone in moving also offers them the most independence possible. This helps people retain their self worth and privacy and become more familiar with the equipment being used.

Training and Support

Anyone who operates a type of movement aid should be given clear instruction and training on the safe use of such equipment, this ensures that both parties are safe when using the equipment and reduces the risk of injury.

In some cases the clients needs may change therefore ongoing support and assessments should be made to ensure the most appropriate type of apparatus is used. For example if someone's condition is worsening and they are no longer able to move from their bed to their wheelchair, the assessment should show that they need additional equipment to upkeep their lifestyle. The same applies for someone recovering from an injury. If the client has regained mobility and is able to manoeuvre themselves out of bed and to the toilet by themselves, it does not make sense to keep them bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their life. Of courses it is important a proper assessment is made to determine that this is what meets their clients needs.

If you wish to improve your care skills and ensure your residents and caregivers are safe we would recommend undertaking our Moving and Handling Course.





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