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We chat to Silvalea about sling safety

4 minute(s) to read

We all know that the regular inspection of equipment is essential when it comes to the principles of health and safety. We chat to Amanda Jenkins, Senior Product Trainer and Technical Support for Silvalea who shares some key tips on making sure you are getting the best out of your slings.

 

How important is it for Aged Care facilities to inspect their slings?

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.

What are the types of things you should look for in terms 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:

  • The webbing and all tapes and loops – check for any stitch breakdown, snapped or unravelling of threads
  • Check that the binding is in tack and has not pulled away from the body of the sling
  • Look for any thinning or staining of the fabric which may cause a weakness
  • Look for any holes or laddering within the fabric
  • Check clunk-click buckles, if supplied and the effectiveness of any velcro hooks or loops

 

Keeping slings clean is important for hygiene purposes and to prevent cross-infection.  How easy is it to launder Silvalea slings?

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.

"It's important to check the sling label before laundering, to ensure that the correct process is followed and to keep the sling in good condition."
What are some of your tips for making sure you get the right size sling for a resident?

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.

When using sizing up for a full body sling it is important to check:
Width:

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.

Leg sections:

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.

Back length:

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.

Since 1993, Silvalea has been at the forefront of the patient sling market. The comprehensive offerings of Silvalea are founded in over 25 years of innovation in fabric and design that address the needs of both resident and caregiver alike.

 


Get in touch

We have a range of useful guides to help care for your slings including a safety checklist, laundry guides and sizing charts in our Resources section.  If you would like to know more about our range of Silvalea slings for Aged Care facilities then please get in touch with our team on 0800 656 527, or email [email protected]