Patient Lifting Devices for Home Use: Overhead Lift Systems (Ceiling Mounted & Free Standing)

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Ceiling Patient Lifts are a type of lifting equipment involving a hoist/motor attached to a rail system that can move along the mentioned rails.

Rail Attachment - These rail systems can be mounted to either an above ceiling structure (in houses it’s usually wood joists but can vary to any number of material such as concrete or steel), or to the wall through upright supports or wall brackets. If you don’t want anything attaching to your walls or living space at all, because maybe you are renting or it’s deemed unsafe too or just for pure aesthetics, but you still feel as if a ceiling lift system is most appropriate, there are Free Standing Patient Lift Systems that use upright posts and don’t have to attach to anything in the household. These are usually height adjustable and much like a floor lift, can be much more easily moved to another location if needed.

Rail Alignment - The rails in most ceiling lift systems are usually installed to move along either a straight rail, curved rail, switch track/turntable, or traverse (room covering) configuration. It all depends on the areas and types of transfers you hope to accomplish that deem the layout of the rails itself. Again this is why we highly recommend you assess the space and types of transfers that hope to be accomplished here.

(For an in depth look into the right questions to be asking, check out our blog post "Who Needs a Hoyer Lift?")

Hoist/Motor – In conjunction with the rails themselves and how they are aligned, the hoist of the system is very important as well. For Institutional care some of these hoists have a great deal of innovation and capabilities behind them. For the most part however, a lot of these features may not be necessary in a home care setting. Things such as integrated scales, usage tracking, or any other number of features are things that may not be needed for the use in a home. I mention this so you can be sure to make that clear in an evaluation from whomever may be supplying the material, as some of these hoists can amount to much more in cost if it has all of the bells and whistles which are meant more for a large hospital organization, as opposed to your particular needs.

Some aspects of the hoist that should be researched before purchasing are knowing how the system charges (through the hand control, in rail charging, dock to charger), if you need it to be powered in a way that allows it to move along the rail without being pushed (power traverse, 4 function), the safe working load of the system (often 400 lbs all the way up to 1,000 lbs and over), how the motor comes off the rail (portable or fixed hoist.)

(For guidance on how to purchase Patient Lift equipment, check out our blog post "Where to Buy Patient Lift Equipment" )

To read more about specific types of Safe Patient Handling equipment for Homecare, check out our other "Patient Lifting Devices for Home Use" blog posts

  • Floor Based – Mobile Lifts & Sit to Stand Lifts

  • Lift Slings - Styles, Sizes, and More

If you’d like more information to help you feel prepared in purchasing this type of equipment, contact one of our specialists by e-mailing ( us or by giving us a call at (617) 895 7966 to discuss a personalized plan for your patient lift equipment needs.

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