Inspecting a sling prior to every use is always recommended. A sensible visual check is sufficient to check the general condition of the sling and to look for signs of wear and tear.
The label is a good place to start. This will detail any safety implications such as safe working load, size, washing instructions and information that is specific to that product.
We then suggest checking the following:
All slings have a label which details the recommend washing information. Standard fabrics can be laundered at a higher temperature and tumble dried at a low heat. Specialised fabrics will vary making it important to always check the sling label before laundering, to ensure that the correct process is followed and to keep the sling in good condition.
A good quality non biological washing detergent is recommended, to help maintain the quality and integrity of the product. Both biological detergents and high washing/drying temperatures can cause accelerated fading/bleaching of the fabric resulting in faster wear and tear.
Sizing can be difficult as no individual is a standard size but it is important to get this right as if a sling is the incorrect size, it can cause discomfort and will not offer suitable support, leading to a potential risk of falling out.
It is important to fully encompass the shoulders (ideally with approx. 5-10cm extra on each side). If the sling is too wide the individual will be reclined and the correct repositioning into a chair will be difficult to achieve. There could also be a strain on the neck and head - if there is no head support.
A sling that is too big could also cause the individual to slip though the commode aperture. If it is not wide enough there will not be adequate support with potential to fall out, and the shoulder tapes will ‘bite’ into the individual’s shoulders.
Check that the sling has long enough leg pieces that give sufficient leg/thigh support. If the leg sections are too small or short, they will ride up into the groin area when they are attached to the hoist.
Short leg sections would bring the legs upwards and there would be a risk of ‘bottoming’ out of the sling aperture. There would also be pressure and discomfort under the thigh areas as the binding/edges of the sling leg sections dig into the thighs.
Check the back length is long enough to give full support - with the arch of the commode aperture positioned at the base of spine. If the sling is not positioned low enough it will affect the leg lengths and you will have the issues as mentioned earlier. If the sling length is too long the individual will sink within it.