What Is An In-Situ Sling: A Greater Understanding

Summary. Oxford and Joerns Healthcare, as an in-situ sling supplier, showcases in-situ slings designed for extended wear under patients post-transfer, enhancing comfort and pressure relief. Crafted mainly from 3D warp-knitted polyester spacer, these slings offer resilience, air permeability, and are available in various sizes. Contact Joerns Healthcare for a diverse range of patient slings, including the adaptable in-situ sling, ensuring a safer, more comfortable patient handling experience.



At Oxford and Joerns Healthcare, we dedicate ourself to develop, design and manufacture cutting edge patient handling solutions. For a better understanding of the in-situ slings, as a supplier, we wanted to share how it works and the different options available.

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.

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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. It is also relatively lightweight 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. The 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 from 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 sitting on the sling for hours, others may have a much shorter tolerance. It’s important to have a full 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. Also, taking into account the present needs of the patient and the most appropriate care provider.

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. Especially between a safe, secure and comfortable transfer, and a potentially dangerous and uncomfortable process.

The in-situ Oxford 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

Looking For An In-Situ Sling Supplier? Contact Us Today

Joerns Healthcare supply a wide range of patient slings for a variety of applications, in-situ slings being one. With over 65 years of experience in patient lift and sling design, you can be sure we have the knowledge to help you make the right decisions. We can also help 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 www.joerns.co.uk to find out more.

If you have found this blog helpful, then you may wish to read our previous blog on The Importance of Moving & Handling Training or Joerns and Covid-19

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