7 maintenance tips to prolong the lifespan of your patient handling equipment

Published On: 30th November 2020

10 Minute Read

Equipment such as hoists, baths and beds receive heavy use in care environments and need to be taken care of properly. We have prepared some basic maintenance tips to prolong the lifespan of your patient handling equipment.

In most care environments, patient handling equipment receives a full annual service and a LOLER inspection every six months to ensure it is safe and fully functional. However, this equipment still needs to be looked after in between any planned preventative maintenance schedule to ensure it is in working order, every time it is used.

By carrying out these tips, not only will you extend the lifespan of your equipment, but it will also reduce downtime and ensure your equipment is safe and in service for your users and carers, even in challenging environments.

You can download a poster of these maintenance tips to put up in your property to ensure staff are aware of these maintenance tips in their daily use of patient handling equipment.

Tip 1 – Keep your patient handling equipment clean and free from debris to prolong the lifespan

Patient handling equipment gets dirty, particularly in care environments where they are frequently used. They carry germs and bacteria, as well as dirt and debris. When this builds up, it can affect the performance of the equipment. This is especially important in harsh environments such as swimming pools and bathing areas where erosion can occur.

Make sure you regularly clean your equipment with the appropriate products and store it correctly, free from harm’s way. Cleaning instructions can be found in the manufacturer’s user manual.

Tip 2 – Carry out routine checks for wear and tear

Inspecting your equipment often, especially before use is a great way to prevent unnecessary downtime and prolong the lifespan. Key components can be affected by age, use and storage of equipment. Over a period of time they can degrade and become fatigued or warn which will affect the performance.

Left unfixed – this can cause the problem to escalate. Should you discover wear and tear, you can report it and get it repaired quickly, reducing equipment downtime.

Tip 3 – Make sure your cables and loose fittings are out of the way

Patient handling equipment comes with lots of cables and wires to make it work, and these are often the parts that can become damaged. Be sure to keep cables, connections and plugs clean and secure, out of the way to avoid becoming a safety hazard.

This also helps to minimise the movement which causes tension. If they are long, you can coil them up and cable tie them out of the way. Staff should avoid using the cables to pull the equipment around and ensure that handsets are always stowed correctly after use.

Tip 4 – Keep the battery charged

Keeping both batteries charged will reduce the risk of downtime on your equipment. Batteries that aren’t consistently charged may stop retaining the charge and run out quicker over time.

With some batteries, the lifetime can be critically reduced if allowed to go flat before recharging, so make sure you recharge the battery whenever possible.

Tip 5 – Avoid overloading the equipment

Patient lifting equipment is designed to withstand a certain weight. This is called the safe working load. Damage can be caused if the equipment is overloaded or not used correctly. Staff using patient lifting equipment must ensure the user’s weight, together with any accessories such as slings and hoist scales, does not exceed the load which is marked clearly on the equipment.

Tip 6 – Make sure staff are properly trained and retrained on patient handling equipment

Training and retraining staff and care givers on the correct use, will prolong the lifespan of your patient lifting equipment. Help them to understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to use, cleaning, storage, and maintenance.

This will reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and ensure it is running smoothly whenever you need to use it.

Tip 7 – Keep a maintenance and repair schedule

Don’t wait until equipment breaks and is out of use. Performing planned preventative maintenance and servicing, will ensure your equipment stays in top condition, and helps to prolong the lifespan of your equipment.

By using a service and maintenance provider you will ensure that equipment is repaired in a timely manner, when something goes wrong.

Don’t forget to download the poster of these 7 maintenance tips to re-fresh your staff on how to prolong the life of your patient handling equipment. 

Benefits of taking care of your care equipment

Equipment in your organisation is a huge investment and crucial to the daily running of your business. The benefits of taking care of your equipment go far beyond just prolonging its lifespan. Following these basic maintenance tips will also help you to:

  • Lessen the chances of equipment downtime and ensure service users are safe
  • Increase operational efficiency and reduce costs of call outs and maintenance
  • Optimise peak performance of equipment to ensure it is fully functional
  • Keep your equipment looking its best which will retain existing and attract new service users

Start implementing these tips as soon as possible to reap the rewards.

If you still find that you are experiencing equipment downtime, speak to Medaco to see how we can help.