Hoists for students with special needs

A hoist may be needed at your school so that a single carer can move a student with special education needs. Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health funding is available, depending on circumstances such as whether you need other property modifications as well.

Installing hoists for people with special needs

A hoist allows a single carer to move a student with special education needs with the lowest possible amount of manual lifting and strain.

When choosing a hoist, consult a Ministry Special Education therapist when considering what type will best meet the student’s current and long-term needs. Take into account:

  • safety and practicality
  • the specific lifting needs of the student
  • the space available in the area where the lifting will take place
  • whether a second hoist is needed.

Types of hoists

There are many different makes and models of hoists. They have different types of support slings to meet the individual needs of the student.

  • A ceiling track hoist is fixed to the ceiling or walls and runs on electricity.
  • A mobile freestanding or overhead gantry hoist is not attached to the wall and does not move once it's set up. It has 2 side legs connected by a top beam, which holds the sling lift, and runs on electricity. It can be moved to a different school when the student moves.
  • A mobile hoist is either electric or manual and is wheel based. It can be moved and used in other classrooms as required. If you pay for it from furniture and equipment funding, it is your property as the board of trustees. It is often a more flexible option because it is easy to move from the classroom to the personal care area.

Paying for hoists for people with special needs

To get funding for a hoist for a student with special education needs, you can apply:

For more information, go to furniture and equipment for students with special education needs.

Customised slings

If you get a bathroom hoist funded through special education property modification funding, it comes with a standard sling. However, some students may need a customised sling to meet their individual needs.

In this situation, make an application through the Ministry of Health.

This sling moves with the student when they change schools. The Ministry of Health also funds future customised slings if the needs of the student change.

Swimming pool hoists

We will consider funding a fixed pool hoist through special education property modifications funding, but only if the pool is Ministry owned.

A fixed pool hoist is usually bolted to the ground and powered by water hydraulics. This can be moved with the student when they change schools. If the new school cannot accommodate it, it remains at the original school.

When 2 hoists are needed

It may be possible to use a mobile hoist in both the bathroom and the classroom. However, in some circumstances, a school may need 2 hoists to meet a student’s needs.

For funding for a second hoist, you can apply to:

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback