Selecting a toilet sling- what to consider?

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Design is important with any sling but particularly with a toileting/commode (or hygiene) sling. Some slings have access or a small aperture at the base of the sling but their designs do differ and because they have an aperture does not a toileting sling make.

Not all slings serve the same purpose and not all slings are equal. Sling manufacturers have spent many years refining and developing slings for specific scenarios, medical conditions, age groups and gender, during this time we have seen many slings being used for multi-purpose which are not appropriate and neither do they always consider the dignity of the end user.

Toileting slings are very specific, facilitating the clean-up and redressing process. Personal clean-up is a sensitive personal issue and a good toileting sling should be of an open enough design for use without soiling.

The slings open design means there are safety concerns, which should be fully addressed as part of the assessment process. Sizing, fitting, waist support, back support, head support and padding particularly under the arms. One type of toileting sling does NOT fit all and all types should have a safety belt. There is lots to consider, not least the fixing type for the hoist. Then of course there is price point, budgets are always going to be important.

So how do you select the correct toileting sling and what should you be considering as part of your selection process?

Physiological condition – Medical condition and skin integrity.
End user’s physical abilities – Ability to assist, motor function and upper body control.
Weight and size of user – Load bearing capacity and safe to lift (consider hoist too).
Function – This should be specific this is not a multi-purpose transfer sling it is a specific function sling.
Sling material – Padding for underarms, remember due to this slings design the end user is suspended by their leg paddles and underarms. Padding and material bunching can be a real problem. Material types will have different properties, some can cause shearing and irritation. Anti-Bacterial? Lots of fabrics now contain anti-bacterial properties.
Laundering – Cross contamination can be a real problem and due to the nature of a toileting sling laundering at a bacterial killing temperature is essential.
Fixing type – Clip or loop? Spreader bar type and compatibility. Always check with both manufacturers.
Patient/end user dignity – Does the sling allow for easy dress or clothing removal and reapplication? There are specific toileting slings which do allow for easy changing. It is also a really good idea to consider adaptive clothing. Some carers keep their end users in a state of undress due to the difficulties involved with toileting. This may be the easiest solution for some slings and we are certainly not casting any shade; but who really wants to sit around without undergarments on? If it is at all possible the best sling for toileting should allow for clothing removal and reapplication and if there is some difficulty involved, then adaptive clothing should be seriously considered.

For a free sling assessment please speak to one of our advisers at KMS Training Solutions 07588571640 or alternatively send us an email kevin@kmstrainingsolutions.co.uk

Information from Silvalea website.