In 2016, around 13% of adults worldwide were affected by obesity, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2021), characterising an abnormal excess of body fat posing health risks. Epidemiological studies indicate a steady rise in obesity prevalence in recent decades, reaching epidemic levels (Großschädl & Stronegger, 2019; NCD-RisC, 2017), with projections indicating a continued increase (Thomas et al., 2014).

The prevalence of obesity among residents in nursing homes is also on the rise, potentially impacting required nursing care, facility provisions, and morbidity rates. A US study revealed a significant increase in obesity prevalence among newly admitted nursing home residents, rising from 16.9% to 25.8% over ten years (Cai, Rahman et al., 2013). Additionally, residents with moderate or severe obesity had a 15.0% higher likelihood of developing pressure ulcers compared to non-obese residents in the same facility, highlighting associated health risks.

Woburn Ultimate bed frame
Prism A320B bariatric mobile hoist

Unfortunately, increased body mass often leads to reduced mobility, complicating care tasks such as repositioning and increasing the risk of secondary health issues, all contributing to pressure ulcer development risk factors.

Ensuring accessible care for all is paramount, particularly in private and non-purpose-built nursing homes. Considering these statistics, it’s evident that plus-sized patients require specialised care with the appropriate equipment. However, this presents its own challenges for both care homes and community equipment providers.

Sourcing the required equipment can be challenging. This leads to many care providers lacking the necessary equipment to support bariatric individuals, especially in larger quantities. This impacts timely care delivery, care home admissions, and patient discharge from hospitals.

Residences may also face infrastructure limitations hindering care for plus sized individuals further complicating care provision. Acute care environments recommend spacious rooms for plus sized patients, posing a further challenge for many long-term care settings (Muir, 2009).

At Prism Healthcare Group, we are dedicated to easing the burden of sourcing and fitting bariatric equipment, allowing caregivers to concentrate on delivering high-quality care. Our Prism Plus line features an extensive range of bariatric products designed to streamline selection, backed by knowledgeable customer service and sales teams ready to address any challenges.

Our products are designed to enhance the quality of life for residents and caregivers, ensuring equitable access to care and support.

For more information on Prism Plus products, please visit the Prism Healthcare website.

Arden Bariatric Rise and Recliner Chair


Großschädl, F., Schoberer, D., Eglseer, D., Lohrmann, C., Everink, I., Gordon, A. L., Schols, J. M. G. A., & Bauer, S. (2023). Obesity and its associated factors in older nursing home residents in three European countries—Secondary data analyses from the “International Prevalence Measurement of Care Quality”. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 18, e12530. 

Cai, S., M. Rahman and O. Intrator (2013). “Obesity and pressure ulcers among nursing home residents.” Medical care 51(6): 478-486.

Muir, M. (2009) “Space Planning for the Bariatric Patient.” Bariatric Times.

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Elderly people sat around a table, while nejoying playing a board game.As society ages, the demand for day-to-day living support continues to rise. However, social care faces challenges amidst this growing need, particularly with funding cuts that have led to staff shortages and reduced training opportunities. In navigating these troubled waters, ensuring the safety and well-being of carers and those they support becomes paramount. If you have concerns regarding the safe handling of a loved one, we encourage you to contact your local social services department and request an Occupational Therapy review of the moving and handling risk assessment and plan.

The Importance of Proper Lifting Techniques

A woman with a pained expression, holding her back.In healthcare environments, moving and lifting individuals is a common task that demands precision and care. Any ‘caregiver’ that needs to move or lift a person is at a high risk of lumbar complaints or disorders.1 When performed correctly, it enhances independence and quality of life while minimising the risk of injury.2 A 2013 study testing different patient transfer types showed that the lumbar load was considerably reduced when using optimised techniques or assistance aids.3 However, inadequate training and improper techniques can result in accidents and discomfort for carers and clients.

An elderly lady being lifted from a reclining shower chair by use of a mobile hoist and sling.

Examples of moving and handling in a health and social care environment include helping a client with the following:

  • Sitting, standing or walking
  • Sitting up or getting in or out of bed
  • Using a toilet or a commode
  • With bathing
  • Following a fall

Understanding Controversial Lifting Techniques

While no techniques are classified as illegal in the UK, some methods, often called “Controversial Lifts,” pose significant risks and should not be used in normal care settings. These techniques, such as the Drag Lift or Australian Lift, can strain the carer and the client, potentially leading to injuries and a loss of dignity. As such, they are reserved for use in emergencies, where an individual’s life is at risk.

Drag Lift

A woman helping a man stand up, by placing her arm under his.Also known as the underarm lift, this is when the client is lifted or supported under the armpit. It is typically used to lift someone up the bed, support them from sitting to standing or help them from the floor. It is done by hooking the elbow around the client’s arm, just under the armpit, and dragging them to the desired position.

The drag lift does not promote active movement from the client and may encourage more passive behaviour, potentially leading to increased dependence.

This approach puts extreme strain on the client’s shoulder and the carer’s back. It can also create shear forces, leading to skin damage.

Australian Lift

Also known as the shoulder lift, this is typically used to help the client sit up in bed. The Australian lift takes two carers, one on either side. Each carer places a shoulder under the client’s armpit and hoists them up. The patient is then dragged backwards towards the headboard.

As with the drag lift, this approach can unnecessarily strain the client’s shoulder and the carer’s back. As the client is dragged back towards the headboard, the carers are moving backwards, leading to an increased chance of falls and injuries.

Orthodox Lift

Also known as the cradle, traditional or armchair lift, this is another lift that takes two carers. A carer stands on either side of the client, and they join hands to form a cradle with their hands, arms and wrists.

This approach puts excess strain on the carer’s arms and back and presents a high risk of dropping the client.

Combined Lift

Another lift for two carers, in which one uses their shoulder to lift, and the other places their hand on the client’s sacrum. They place a sling under the person’s thighs with their free hand to prepare them for a mechanical lift.

Although a sling is recommended when lifting, the combined lift is a poor method of placing the sling. This approach can lead to skin damage through shear forces and puts extreme strain on the client’s shoulder and the carer’s back.

Bear Hug Lift

Somenone being helped up from a wheelchair. The wheelchair user is placing their arms around the carers neck. The carer has their arms either side of the users torso.

The Bear Hug Lift assists a person from seated to standing. The carer leans forward, squatting and reaching forward under the person’s armpits, before standing to lift the person.

This approach puts unnecessary pressure on the caregiver and makes it hard for the person to stand under their own strength, as there is limited space around their feet.

Neck Hold

The Neck Hold is another method to assist a person from seated to standing. In this approach, the person puts their arms around the neck of the carer, relying on the carer’s momentum as they rise to pull the person to a standing position.

This approach puts a lot of strain on the carer’s neck, and there is a high risk of injury if either person loses their balance.

A carer helping an elderly lady to walk by linking arms.

Flip Turn on a Bed

To roll a person onto their side in bed, it is necessary to have the person close to the carer, allowing them to be rolled away in one simple movement. However, to get the person close, the carer is reaching out, taking the load at a distance from the body and increasing the risk of strain.

Walking a Person Linking Arms

When transferring someone across short distances, the carer may be tempted to link arms with the client. However, the carer risks taking most of the client’s body weight, and if one of them stumbles, both will likely fall and potentially injure themselves.

The Importance of Training and Equipment

To mitigate risks and promote safe lifting practices, comprehensive training and the use of appropriate equipment are essential3. Investing in regular Moving and Handling training ensures that carers stay updated on the latest techniques, empowering them to provide effective care while prioritising safety.

Recommended Publications and Resources

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides valuable guidance on moving and handling in health and social care environments.1
  • Organisations like HME Training and Athena Handling Ltd offer a range of courses tailored to the needs of healthcare professionals, ensuring they have the necessary skills to handle lifting tasks safely and efficiently.
  • Various moving and handling equipment, including mobile hoists, ceiling track hoists, and stand and transfer aids, support individuals’ safe lifting and transfer. Proper selection and use of equipment can significantly reduce the risk of injuries3. Prism Medical UK equipment features a QR code, which, when scanned, will take users to an electronic version of the user manual, meaning that instructions on proper use are always available.


As we continue to navigate the complexities of social care, prioritising safe lifting practices is crucial. By investing in training and using appropriate equipment, we can ensure the well-being of carers and those they support, fostering independence and dignity in healthcare environments.


  1. Smith J. (2005) The Guide to the Handling of People. 5th edn. Teddington, UK: National Back Pain Association and Royal College of Nursing.
  2. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – Moving and handling in health and social care.
  3. Jäger, M., Jordan, C., Theilmeier, A., Wortmann, N., Kuhn, S., Nienhaus, A., & Luttmann, A. (2013). Lumbar-Load Analysis of Manual Patient-Handling Activities for Biomechanical Overload Prevention Among Healthcare Workers. The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 57(4), 528-544.
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In the realm of adaptive healthcare solutions, Prism Medical UK faced a unique challenge when a young boy struggled to find a suitable seating option due to his medical condition. After experiencing issues with other chairs, including injuries from a competitor’s product, a family contact sought assistance from Prism Medical UK to find a safer and more comfortable solution.

The contact recommended the Freeway Flow Shower Cradle after taking note of the boy’s positive experience with a shower trolley during respite care. The cradle’s tilt-in-space feature and height adjustability were identified as key factors that could address his specific needs.

Upon trying the Freeway Flow Shower Cradle, the boy’s demeanour noticeably changed within minutes. Previously restless and uncomfortable, he relaxed and conversed with his mother. The occupational therapist, upon arriving, was pleased to witness the positive impact of the adapted seating solution.

Freeway Flow shower cradle

The Freeway Flow Shower Cradle provided him with a comfortable and secure option for bathing and opened the door to a more enjoyable and stress-free experience. However, due to the boy’s unique situation, the family contact recognised a potential for friction on the boy’s feet and legs.

A pragmatic solution was proposed to address this concern—a custom extended vinyl calf strap for the lower leg section. Prism Medical UK’s manufacturing team, known for their expertise and commitment to client-specific solutions, swiftly implemented the modification. This thoughtful adjustment mitigated friction and enhanced the client’s comfort.

The adapted Freeway Flow Shower Cradle, now equipped with the extended vinyl calf strap, has become an integral part of the boy’s daily routine, allowing him to shower safely and comfortably. This case study showcases the practical and positive impact of tailored adaptations in healthcare, demonstrating how slight modifications can significantly improve the lives of individuals facing unique challenges.

This story serves as a reminder of the need for effective and personalised solutions, emphasising the importance of adaptive technology in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with diverse healthcare needs.

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A picture of a lady in a sling, with a "Manufactured in the UK" logo, alongside a list with the following text 1. Meet ISO guidelines, 2. CE-marked, 3. Rigorously tested, 4. UK-manufactured, 5. Five day lead time

Slings are a vital part of a healthcare provider’s toolkit and essential for ensuring patient comfort and safety. They facilitate the transfer of individuals with mobility challenges. Whether for short-term or long-term use, slings are vital in enhancing the quality of life for patients. It is therefore critical that these slings adhere to stringent safety standards.

At Prism Medical UK, we pride ourselves on the quality of our slings, which are all CE-marked and meet the ISO 10535 guideline, which details the requirements and test methods for hoists used to transfer persons.

We manufacture our slings from flame-retardant materials and thoroughly test them to guarantee their washability for the recommended number of cycles. This stringent testing minimises the risk of contamination, ensuring the sling maintains its weight-bearing capacity post-wash.

The sling is tested at 1.5 times its safe working load and undergoes multiple lift cycles to assess its performance with repeated use:

  • 500 lift cycles for reusable (washable) slings
  • 100 lift cycles for disposable slings

Also, did you know that our slings are all handmade in the UK? We sew tens of thousands of slings every year! A lot of skill and craftsmanship goes into producing a sling. Six people produce the average Prism Medical UK sling; this includes cutting the fabric to shape, sewing in the padding, adding the webbing and quality checks of the final sling. By manufacturing our slings in the UK, we can be confident in our quality control processes, with every single sling receiving a visual inspection before it is packaged up for dispatch.

Please explore our website if you’d like to learn more about Prism Medical UK slings. Should you have any questions, please contact our Customer Services team at [email protected] or 01924 840100.

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We were delighted to be part of the Occupational Therapy Show at Birmingham’s NEC on November 22nd and 23rd, 2023, where Prism Medical UK joined Prism Healthcare Group companies Harvest Healthcare, Repose Furniture and Smirthwaite to showcase innovation and collaboration.

OT-led workshop - an occupational therapist, with someone on a bed, surrounded by workshop delegates.

The show’s highlight was our continued collaboration with John Callas, Occupational Therapist and Managing Director of Athena Handling Ltd. Together, we hosted a series of Occupational Therapy-led workshops that resonated well with the audience, showcasing the power of collaboration in the healthcare space.

We also had the opportunity to present our new Freeway Flow shower cradle alongside some of our more established products, such as the Freeway Height Adjustable shower chair, TA180 transfer aid and a range of ceiling track hoists.

Prism Medical UK is excited to join OTAC Glasgow on the 25th of January at Glasgow’s Golden Jubilee Hotel.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about how Prism Medical UK can help with your bathing, moving and handling equipment needs.

Thank you to everyone who visited us. We are excited to see you again at the OT Show 2024, if not before.

Our OT Show highlights

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Sleigh with parcels

In the run-up to Christmas, we have some important dates to make you aware of:

Last order date for Christmas delivery:

For orders placed on or before the 15th of December 2023, we guarantee Christmas delivery for any items on a standard 3-5 day lead time. For orders placed up to the 21st of December, we will make every effort to deliver your items before Christmas. 

Office shutdown:

  • Prism Medical UK – The offices will close on Friday, 22nd December, at 2 p.m. and reopen on Tuesday, 2nd January, at 8 a.m. From 27th to 29th December, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., a small team will answer your calls and schedule any installations, services or repairs. Outside of these times, our out-of-hours service will be available as usual.
  • Prism Medical Scotland – The offices will close on Friday, 22nd December, at 2 p.m. and reopen on Wednesday, 3rd January. Our on-call engineers will be available for breakdowns during this time.

We wish you all a Happy Holiday.

The Prism Medical UK Team

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Prism Medical UK, a leading manufacturer and supplier of bathing, moving and handling solutions, is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Rowlings as the new Regional Business Manager for the Northwest. Stephen will be instrumental in the launch of our new Regional Service Centre, opening its doors in 2024. In this vital customer-facing role, Stephen will oversee the strategic re-launch of our Northwest operations, a significant milestone in our commitment to providing essential healthcare solutions.Stephen Rowlings, Regional Business Manager

Stephen has a dynamic career spanning over 15 years within the healthcare sector. He has held positions with Performance Health as a National Account Manager, Demant as an Area Sales Manager and most recently, Drive Devilbiss Healthcare as a Business Development Manager. Stephen brings a wealth of expertise to Prism Medical UK. His extensive industry knowledge and dedication to improving the lives of those we serve align perfectly with Prism Medical UK’s mission. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to offer the best customer service with a keen eye on continuous improvement.  

Stephen commented on his appointment, “I am truly excited to join the Prism Medical UK team and lead the charge in rejuvenating the North West Regional Centre. I’m passionate about making a positive impact on the healthcare industry, and I look forward to contributing to the growth and success of this organisation.”

Julie Hoyles, Director of Business Development at Prism Medical UK, expressed her confidence in the appointment, saying, “Stephen is a highly accomplished professional who will undoubtedly play a vital role in our continued expansion and service excellence. His experience, drive, and commitment make him a valuable addition to our team.”

The opening of the new regional centre in 2024 represents a significant step in Prism Medical UK’s mission to provide innovative healthcare solutions to a wider audience. With Stephen Rowlings at the helm, we look forward to a bright and successful future.

Stephen can be contacted at [email protected]

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In times of emergency, the safety and well-being of individuals with limited mobility is paramount. The Prism Evacuation System is a reliable solution when evacuating those in need.

1. What is the Prism Evacuation System?

The Prism Evacuation System is a specialised apparatus designed to ensure the swift and secure evacuation of individuals with limited mobility during emergencies. While emergency evacuations may be infrequent occurrences, it is vital to be prepared. This system has been meticulously crafted to provide a seamless and efficient means of transferring individuals to safety, particularly those with limited mobility.

Prism Evacuation System
The Prism Evacuation System allows for efficient transfer during an emergency.
Prism Evacuation System
The individual needing evacuation can be comfortably secured using the adjustable straps

2. How does the Prism Evacuation System work?

During an evacuation scenario, the Prism Evacuation System comes into its own by facilitating a safe and swift transfer process. The individual in need of evacuation can be comfortably secured within the system using its adjustable straps, after which they can be smoothly transported to a place of safety. Whether transitioning from a bed or another surface, the Prism Evacuation System provides the necessary support and ease of transfer, ensuring the user remains stable throughout the process.

The system incorporates bone supports, enhancing the protection and support offered during evacuation procedures.

3. What are the features and benefits of the Prism Evacuation System?

The Prism Evacuation System boasts a range of features that make it an ideal solution for emergency evacuations:

  • Safety First: With a robust, safe working load of 190 kg (30 stone), the system offers peace of mind to users and caregivers, ensuring safe and secure transfers.
  • Comfort and Security: The system is designed for user comfort, featuring adjustable padding that enhances comfort and safety during evacuation.
  • Multiple Grip Points: Vertical and horizontal looped handles are incorporated, providing caregivers with various secure grip points for more controlled and safer transfers.
  • Adaptability: The adjustable straps of the Prism Evacuation System can accommodate individuals of varying sizes, ensuring that it can be effectively used for a wide range of patients.
  • Hygiene and Maintenance: For ease of use and upkeep, the system is easily wiped clean, maintaining hygiene standards in all situations.
  • Compact and Convenient: When not in use, the Prism Evacuation System can be neatly stored in its carry case, ensuring that it is readily accessible when needed most.
Prism Evacuation System
Prism Evacuation System

The Prism Evacuation System offers a lifeline during emergencies, providing a secure and efficient means of evacuation. Whether in a healthcare facility, residential setting, or any environment where mobility is restricted, the Prism Evacuation System stands ready to ensure that those in need are swiftly and safely transported to safety.

Find out more about the Prism Evacuation System.

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Join us at the NEC Birmingham on November 22nd and 23rd to explore our comprehensive range of healthcare solutions and expertise.

Prism Medical UK is thrilled to announce its participation in the upcoming Occupational Therapy (OT) Show, set to take place on November 22nd and 23rd at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, UK. Collaborating with industry partners Harvest Healthcare, Repose Furniture, and Smirthwaite, we are excited to showcase our specialist equipment tailored to address various healthcare needs, including single-handed care, patient transfers, paediatric care, pressure area management and speciality seating.

Comprehensive Range of Products and Services:

Our dedicated team will be at booth D40 to say hello and answer any questions you may have. At our booth, you can talk with experts from Prism Medical UK and our partner companies, who will provide insightful demonstrations of our extensive product lineup, carefully designed to meet the diverse demands of the healthcare sector.

Highlighted offerings include:

Transactive Advanced 272 ceiling track hoist with sling

Interactive Workshops and Clinics:

In addition to product showcases, we proudly present a series of interactive workshops and clinics in partnership with John Callas, an Occupational Therapist and the Managing Director of Athena Handling Ltd. These dynamic sessions will offer attendees invaluable insights into the seamless integration of specialised equipment for effective community-based moving and handling.

Prism Medical UK workshop at the OT show 2022

These workshops are designed to be interactive and fluid, encouraging active participation, questions, and real-world challenges. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the field, these workshops promise valuable takeaways to enhance your practice.

Our clinics provide a unique opportunity for one-on-one consultations with our independent OT, John Callas, or one of our knowledgeable assessors. This personalised setting is perfect for addressing complex cases and gaining expert guidance.

Our workshops and clinics will run at the following times:

22nd November

  • 10.30-11.15 – Shower chairs and seating workshop
  • 11.15-12.00 – Therapist Insight Clinic
  • 14.30-15.15 – Beds and hoists workshop
  • 15.15-16.00 – Therapist Insight Clinic

23rd November

  • 10.30-11.15 – Beds and hoists workshop
  • 11.15-12.00 – Therapist Insight Clinic
  • 13.30-14.15 – Shower chairs and seating workshop
  • 14.15-15.00 – Therapist Insight Clinic

Join Us at Stand D40:

Prism Medical UK and our partners look forward to welcoming you at stand D40 during the OT Show 2023. We invite you to explore our comprehensive range of healthcare solutions, gain insights from industry experts, and participate in engaging workshops and clinics.

Take advantage of this opportunity to participate in an event dedicated to promoting occupational therapy and achieving excellence in healthcare. Mark your calendars for November 22nd and 23rd – we can’t wait to see you at the NEC Birmingham. Together, we can transform lives and make a lasting impact on the world of healthcare.

If you’re attending the show, please stop by stand D40 and say hello!

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Prism Medical UK is excited to announce its participation in the National Back Exchange conference, scheduled at the Hilton Metropole Birmingham from September 17th to 19th. As a leading provider of specialist moving, handling, and bathing equipment, Prism Medical UK will be at stand 17 to share its latest product offerings and valuable insights in the community care environment.

At the conference, attendees can explore Prism Medical UK’s quality care solutions, including the Freeway Flow shower cradle, the versatile CP200 portable hoist, and the popular Freeway TA180 transfer aid. You can chat with our booth team – Julie, Sarah, Michael, and Chris – to address any inquiries regarding bathing, moving, and handling equipment in community care settings.

We’re also pleased to have two regional assessors, Ben and Lesley, at the event, adding to the expertise available for in-depth discussions.

Workshop: Unlocking the Power of Prism

Prism Medical UK is not only an exhibitor; it is committed to offering an immersive experience for attendees. In the Norfolk room, on September 18th at 11.15, Prism Medical UK is hosting a dynamic workshop on maximising the use of equipment to support community care, which will be led by practising Occupational Therapist John Callas. This workshop provides hands-on experience with a broader range of products from the Prism Healthcare group, including beds, riser recliner chairs, shower chairs, and various safe patient transfer solutions.

We will also support Deborah Harrison of A1 Risk Solutions during her September 18th and 19th workshops. Participants will have additional chances to gain hands-on experience with Prism Healthcare group care solutions, further solidifying Prism Medical UK’s commitment to advancing community care practices.

Transactive Advanced 272 ceiling track hoist with sling

Join Prism Medical UK at the Stand and Workshop

We invite all National Back Exchange conference attendees to visit us at stand 17 to see how we can help you transform lives. Our knowledgeable team will be present to provide valuable insights and address individual requirements.

Attendees are encouraged to participate in the workshop hosted by John Callas in the Norfolk room on September 18th. This interactive session promises to enhance knowledge and understanding of Prism Healthcare group products and their application in various care settings.

Lady in the Freeway Flow shower cradle
Lady in the T80 tilt-in-space shower chair

Take advantage of this opportunity to engage with Prism Medical UK and stay at the forefront of community care equipment. We look forward to welcoming you at stand 17 and the Norfolk room workshop at the National Back Exchange conference.

To learn more about our range of community care equipment, please visit the product pages of our website. To find out more about the Prism Healthcare group of companies, please visit our group website.

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