1. Specification of the ceiling hoist unit
There are several manufacturers of ceiling hoist pods (otherwise known as the ceiling hoist motor unit) and tracks that come with different specifications for different requirements and so will vary in cost accordingly.
There are entry-level pods for those on a budget as well as higher-end pods with high specifications. Using the guide below, you can work out what it is you need from a ceiling hoist which can determine which one you choose. All of these must take into account the needs of the service users, your care staff, the environment the equipment will be used in as well as how much the hoist will be used.
Type of ceiling hoist pod
Ceiling hoist pods can either be ‘Fixed’ or ‘Portable’. Fixed ceiling hoist pods cannot be removed from the tracking (which is the most common installation). Portable is where the pod can be removed from the tracking, and then transported to another track in a different room, then connected and used there.
Whilst ‘Portable’ pods can help reduce the cost (as you don’t need a hoist pod in every room that has a track), we are finding that this application is less common in the current climate, due to the infection control risks, as hoists pods are moved from one bedroom to another. As a service provider, we notice that ‘portable’ pods suffer increased damage when they are removed and transferred between rooms which are increasing their overall costs as they require more repairs.
It’s also not a suitable option for heavy use environments or where care is needed for high-dependency users – this is where a fixed hoist will be more beneficial.
The Safe Working Load
The safe working load (SWL) determines the maximum load or weight that a piece of equipment can safely lift in a predefined configuration. Most hoist and track installations will have a SWL of around 200kgs but if you require a greater SWL, this could increase your costs. As more fixing brackets will be needed to secure the track and ensure it holds the weight requirement for your user. Labour costs can also increase as it can take longer to install.
Manual Traverse (2-function) or Powered Traverse (4-function) Ceiling Hoists
Ceiling hoist pods come with different traverse options and options for lifting the hoist up and down.
A manual traverse or 2-function hoist means you move the hoist along the track yourself by pushing and pulling the unit but the lift is powered through the handset. This is the least expensive option and is suitable for the majority of users and care staff. It allows full control of the speed of the hoist as well as the location of the lift.
The alternative is a power traverse or 4-function hoist which controls the movement of the unit along the track, as well as the lift via the handset. Whilst this option is more expensive, it can be beneficial for bariatric residents or carers who aren’t able to push and pull the unit. It is also beneficial in a pool environment where the hoist crosses over the pool.
The option you choose will depend on your preferences and requirements.
Different hoists come with different charging methods depending on your needs and budget. The common charging methods include continuous charge, dock charge and handset charge.
A continuous charge is where the hoist charges anywhere along the rail – meaning it can be left in any location after use. Due to the components needed and the more advanced manufacturing process, this is the most costly option.
Dock charge and handset charge are cost-effective charging methods and suitable for most environments. A dock charge hoist uses a docking station on the end of the track. Whereas with a handset charge hoist, the handset is placed in a handset dock installed on the closest wall.
Look and style
Whilst this factor might not be as important as the ones above, especially for the service user, it still needs to be considered. For example, you might be a care home group that is keen to position yourself as a luxury care home with finer finishing touches. This can attract private residents to your home, as the room looks homely, rather than clinical. As well as retain care staff, who are attracted with the high-quality equipment you have installed. So a modern and discreet ceiling hoist and track might be your preference, whereas if budget is your sole driver, then a more cost-effective solution can be installed, but this will be larger and more obtrusive in the room.