Person Hoists – Any experience?

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  • #277661
    Glos Guy

      As those who have been following my thread ‘The Search Begins’ will know, my wife and I have been struggling to find a car that she can get in and out of easily. Of the cars that we liked (sadly very few these days on Motability) the Mazda CX60 was too high for her, the BMW 3 Series Touring was too low and the Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson were pretty good but don’t have proper grab style interior door handles. The best car for access was the BMW iX1 but we don’t really want an EV until the technology improves and I didn’t like the EV driving experience. Sadly, the new X1 petrol isn’t on the scheme and probably won’t ever be (although the PHEV might – which could be a possibility, subject to a test drive).

      Motability have allowed us to extend the lease on our current petrol X1 by 2 years, so the pressure is off thankfully (especially as we really like our current car and there’s nothing on the scheme now that we’d prefer to it), but during that conversation I mentioned the challenges that we are having and Motability are kindly referring us to the nearest enablement centre, where various driver and passenger aids can be demonstrated. We are also going to attend the next Motability Big Event in Exeter (never been before) and have combined it with a couple of days in Devon.

      One of the things mentioned on the call was a ‘Person Hoist’ which would lift my wife from her wheelchair into the front passenger seat and vice-versa. My wife isn’t terribly keen on the idea as she “feels disabled enough without advertising the fact” (her words), but it has struck me that if we went with one of these it would address the current challenge of most cars being too low or too high.

      So my questions are this. Does anyone have experience of one of these person hoists and if so;

      How easy are they to use? (I believe that they use a sort of sling – how easy is that to get in and out of for a full time wheelchair user who cannot stand unaided?)

      Does the process take a long time (just envisaging doing it in the rain etc)?

      Assuming that the mechanism lives in the car, how obtrusive is it when stowed (front passenger seat)? Does it make it awkward for an able bodied passenger to use the front passenger seat (get in the way etc)?

      Any first hand feedback or advice would be much appreciated.

      • This topic was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Glos Guy.
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    • #277667

        googling i found they do a lift that moves the car seat out and down to pick the passenger up and swivel into the car. they do varients for low vehicles and high suv types. proablyy pricey but looks good.

        Glos Guy

          googling i found they do a lift that moves the car seat out and down to pick the passenger up and swivel into the car. they do varients for low vehicles and high suv types. proablyy pricey but looks good.

          Thanks. I’m not looking at a system that lifts the car seat in and out though, just the person. Keen to know if anyone on here has (or has had) such a system.


            Stupid me

            • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by DumfriesDik. Reason: not appropriate reply

            VW ID3 Max is my DD


              Hi Glos Guy, we had a person hoist for three and a half years fitted into a Motability VW Tiguan.  Like your wife, my wife was never really that keen, feeling quite self-conscious using it and in truth, only used it for doctors, dentists, opticians and hospital visits, maybe 20 times in total in all the time we had it.  We never found it very easy to use although like most things, I’m sure the more you use it the easier it would get.

              As you probably know, there are three parts to it.  The post that is permanently fitted into the car, the swivel arm that is removable and the sling the user sits in.  The post sits inside the car close to the door hinges and doesn’t really get in the way. It is braced by a strut that runs across from half way up the post to the floor at the other side of the passenger compartment near the transmission tunnel. Both the post and this strut are bolted to the floor which I suspect wouldn’t work that well with an electric car that had its batteries under the floor.  The post and strut are not really that obtrusive for front seat passengers as their feet can sit under the strut, however I have wondered what damage it would do to their lower shins in a front or rear end crash!!

              What is fundamental to the hoist’s usability though is the dimensions of the front door aperture, specifically the distance between the sill and roof, the distance between the top of the seat base and the roof and the distance between the front of the seat and the front of the door opening.  Clearly, if an able bodied person can get themselves into the car it should be possible for someone in a sling to be able to get in also. However, whilst the able bodied person will go in one leg at a time and maybe lean their upper body forwards, these movements are not possible for the person in a sling so having sufficient legroom and headroom is crucial.  We actually had a seat runner extension fitted at our cost which enabled the seat to be pushed further back to provide more legroom.

              So the first stage is getting the sling positioned properly.  My wife cannot self-support and has no core strength so this wasn’t very easy.  We needed something she could hold onto while she leaned forward allowing me to slide the sling down between her back and the wheelchair backrest (not too high and not too low).  Next, I had to lift each leg in turn and fold the wings of the sling under her legs bringing the straps that attach to the swivel arm up between her legs.  This is easier if the sides of the wheelchair will fold back or can be removed.  At least this stage can be done in the dry.

              The next stage is to open the car door, push the seat right back, hook the swivel arm onto the post and plug in the power which is rather like a PC monitor plug.  The swivel arm is actually in two parts, one slotting into the other and the arm itself is fairly heavy. This is the stage at which the clock starts ticking if it is raining heavily!

              Next is to wheel the wheelchair out to the car.  We found it needed to be close to the open car door and the footrests just shy of the sill.  The swivel arm connects to the sling’s four straps (one either side and two between her legs) and she was then lifted just enough to move the wheelchair out of the way to give me enough room to manoeuvre her into the car.  This felt quite disconcerting to her when the wheelchair was moved.  The steps I took were to:

              1. swing her close to the seat
              2. lift her legs into the car
              3. raise her up as much as possible while still allowing her enough room to get her head into the car
              4. I would then need to lift her to maximum height the hoist allowed to give her enough clearance to position her over the car seat (she also had an inflatable cushion on the seat so needed clearance for that also)
              5. lower her onto the seat/cushion, sometimes lifting and lowering a couple of times until she was comfortably in the right position
              6. disconnect the sling from the swivel arm and put on her seatbelt
              7. pull the seat forwards a bit and put her legs into a comfortable position.

              I would then unplug and lift off the swivel arm and put that and the wheelchair into the boot.  Unfortunately, on the Tiguan anyway, it was not possible to leave the swivel arm in situ – the door would not close.  The sling is left on in the car.  At this stage the door can be closed but as you can see, it does take a bit of time manoeuvring which isn’t much fun in the rain!

              Exiting the car is pretty much a reverse of the operation.  I did tend to put the wheelchair in place before manoeuvring her out although having somewhere to stand whilst doing that was a bit tricky.  One thing I would say is that the Tiguan is quite a tall car but even so, there was only just enough headroom even with the seat at its lowest position.

              So in conclusion:


              • it’s a fairly cheap solution for someone who is wheelchair reliant and doesn’t want to go down the WAV route
              • minimal alterations to the car means able bodied passengers are not compromised (though watch those shins!)
              • the removable hoist parts take little extra room up in the car
              • being a substantial adaptation, it is likely that the lease could be extended to five years if that was required


              • it’s not the most elegant way of getting the wheelchair user in and out
              • the whole process is quite awkward and time consuming although practice would make it easier over time

              In the end, my wife decided she wanted something different so we went with a wheelchair swivel seat in an Audi Q4 which I’ll cover in a separate posting shortly.

              Hope that is of some use …..

              Glos Guy

                @PR I could not have wished for a more comprehensive answer. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your first hand experience in such detail. That is immensely useful and I shall discuss it with my wife. We have watched a few short YouTube videos of Person Hoists and they do look like a complete pain in the backside to use and time consuming as well. It also struck me that they would probably work best with larger cars than the one we have but, as we know, the choice of those on Motability is rubbish at present. If you have the time, your views on the wheelchair swivel seat would be equally useful. I haven’t looked into those so don’t know the first thing about them, even down to whether it’s an adaptation to the existing car seat or a different seat altogether.

                Before changing your post you had asked if we’d consider a WAV, which was a sensible challenge. I fear that we may have to go down this route in the future but neither of us is keen at present. We would both much prefer a car to a van type vehicle and, having used them as taxis when on holidays I would have concerns about grubbing around on the floor tying retention straps etc. There may be other systems for all I know though. Again, it’s another area where I have virtually zero knowledge.

                At present my wife pulls herself up (but not fully upright) from her wheelchair and pivots around (sometimes with me holding the back of her trousers to assist – or a waist belt with handles that we’ve bought) onto the edge of the car seat. She then has to shuffle back a bit onto the seat (difficult as she has absolutely minimal use of her legs) and then lift one leg in at a time (I often help with this as well). It’s all a faff but potentially less of a faff than a person hoist or strapping her wheelchair in a WAV. The issue will be how much longer she can do this and the fact that it’s restricting our choice of cars as many are too high or too low. We are going to go to the Motability Big Event next month in Exeter so will have a look at what is available and whether any of it appeals.

                All ideas welcome and many thanks for the responses so far.



                  @Glos-Guy you were not meant to see that!! You asked about car hoists and I have no experience of them.

                  There are so many variables. To allay some fears about WAVs, we had a plate in the floor that the powerchair would lock into. You pressed a button and the chair would be released. No grubbing around on the floor and a very simple thing to do. And this can be placed anywhere, driver or passenger. The biggest advantage is the chair user can do everything themselves, indeed, my wife independently drove from her chair and could go out on her own. It also means no lifting or manual handling, better for everyone.

                  I hope you can find a car that you like and can fit in to!!

                  VW ID3 Max is my DD


                    Hi Again,

                    I will cover our wheelchair swivel seat choice in more detail, however, the deal breaker for many I expect will be the cost as we paid Motability close to £9K for it on top of the AP for the car itself.


                      paid Motability close to £9K for it


                      VW ID3 Max is my DD


                        As @PR described, thats how we find it, but due to wifes health, she found the pressure from the sling caused a bit of discomfort.

                        The wife doesnt get out much, essentially the hoist hasnt been used much, but it is such a time sync that we have often paid £100 for a taxi instead.

                        We’ve toyed with a WAV, but the upfront cost is quite prohibitive on the larger vehicles it seems, and her powerchair means the smaller ones are a bit tight, also for the use it would get use, also we (me moreso I guess) arent keen on not having a ‘car’ and the wife is already self conscious enough about her disability to have it highlighted by a WAV.


                        Kind of realise I’ve rambled here without actually saying what I came here to say……  check out your local adaptation installer, they will have a demo vehicle and will come out and demo it with you and then when you are comfortable with it you can try with your wife too.

                        Glos Guy

                          @shawry Many thanks for your feedback. We are going to go to an enablement centre and the Motability Big Even in Exeter to try some things out.


                            Not sure if this type of thing has been mentioned but, looking around for my dad and come across this/these.




                            • This reply was modified 4 days, 7 hours ago by kezo.
                              Glos Guy
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