In-Situ Slings: A Greater Understanding

What is an in-situ sling?

In-situ slings are a type of sling that, given appropriate risk assessment, can be left in place underneath a user for an extended period following transfer. Aptly named and sometimes referred to as all day slings, they are often characterised by their material, which is generally a 3D warp-knitted polyester spacer. Some manufacturers utilise alternative material options as having in-situ properties.

A truly effective in-situ sling will have minimal pressure points compared to a more generally prescribed sling and it is the hammock style with integrated and undivided leg section that lends itself to this notion. Split leg sections, commode apertures, positioning handles, seams and raised edging inevitably cause increased areas of pressure when left under a patient.

How does an in-situ sling work?

If we consider the most commonly used material for in-situ slings, 3D spacer, it offers good resilience to compression, is relatively light-weight and has excellent air and moisture permeability to help regulate body temperature. Spacer fabrics are available in varying grades with 3 – 5mm being commonplace in sling applications. Spacer material is widely regarded for its pressure relieving properties as well as for comfort due to its two-way stretch properties.

What is the purpose of an in-situ sling?

In-situ slings can be used for several reasons, alongside qualified nursing care. Aside of the high level comfort they provide, situations that may call for the use of an in-situ sling may include:

  • Where it may be difficult to remove the sling from under a patient, such as moulded wheelchairs users or for those with low body tone.
  • Where it is difficult to re-fit a sling in a chair due to the style and instruction for use.
  • If it proves too uncomfortable or disconcerting for the sling to be removed.
  • If removing the sling may hurt or injure the patient, such as where tissue viability issues are a factor.

How long can an in-situ sling be left underneath a user?

Fundamentally, the decision to leave any sling in place underneath a patient, regardless of whether it is considered to be an in-situ sling, is dependent on a pre-assessed risk for doing so. Unsurprisingly therefore, the amount of time an in-situ sling can remain in place is wholly dependent on the individual and the situation. Some patients may be perfectly ok sat on the sling for hours, others may have a much shorter tolerance. It’s important to have a fully risk assessed care plan in place that considers factors, including: 

  • Skin trauma or tissue viability issues.
  • The patient’s level of comfort whilst sat in the sling.
  • The fit of a patient’s wheelchair.
  • Any other risks to the patient.

It’s important to ensure that care plans are continually reviewed and updated, taking into account the present needs of the patient and the most appropriate care provision.

Do in-situ slings come in a variety of sizes?

As with most slings, in-situ variants are available in a range of sizes to suit most individuals. A correctly sized sling makes all the difference between a safe, secure and comfortable transfer, and a potentially dangerous and uncomfortable process.

The Oxford In-Situ sling is available in five standard sizes from XS through to XL. We also offer a custom manufacturing service whereby sizing and specification can be re-specified to fulfil exacting requirements

More Information

Joerns Healthcare supply a wide range of patient slings for a variety of applications. With over 65 years’ experience in patient lift and sling design you can be sure we have the knowledge to help you make the right decisions, helping to create a safer lifting environment for both patients and carers alike.

Call Joerns Healthcare today on +44 (0)1905 842 211 to discuss your requirements or alternatively, visit to find out more.