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Transfer assist devices are an important part of patient transfer systems and employed for safe handling of patients. These products reposition patients with ease and without much effort. There are transfer equipment products such as patient transfer boards, medical patient sliding boards, transfer boards and sheets, sliding sheets, sliding mats, etc. Slide transfers, standing pivot transfers and safe lifting of patients are made easy with these patient transfer systems. Patient transfer systems offer safe transfer of a person from one place to another and, at the same time, allow the independence and dignity of the person being moved to be maintained.

Types Of Transfer Assist Devices

Patient Slider Sheets

Patient slider sheets are made of special fabrics which have low-friction insides to facilitate smooth gliding over themselves. These sliding sheets may be flat or padded and are available in varying sizes and lengths. They may be used by the patient independently or with assistance from a caregiver. Patient slider sheets help move the patient up in bed, move from side to the spatients on to their side as well as transfer them from one surface to another.

Slide/Transfer Boards

Patient slide/transfer boards come in wood or plastic and help transfer patients from wheelchairs, bed, chair or commode. They can be used along with roller sheets or slide sheets and help reduce friction and bridge gaps when transferring patients from stretcher to bed and vice versa, generally between two horizontal surfaces. Patient transfer boards and sliding boards are meant to help those patients who can independently push themselves along by sliding along the board with a caregiver’s assistance. They help transfers between bed and wheelchair, wheelchair and commode, chair and wheelchair and wheelchair and car. These boards do not require manual lifting of the patient thus keeping the caregiver safe from back strain or sprain. Patients who are independent may also use these slide boards or transfer boards to perform certain transfers without assistance. There are curved transfer boards which are designed for transfers around armrests that are fixed.

Patient Transfer Belts and Vests

Patient transfer belts are available in a number of sizes and shapes and usually have handles. They are to be used during assisted walking or during seated transfers using transfer boards. Transfer belts use a Velcro strap, buckle or clasp to fasten and feature easy-to-grip comfort handles on the outer area allowing for maximum positioning. They may be worn by the patient or caregiver to help in standing and pivot functions. A non-slip inner surface provides stability while repositioning patient. Patient transfer belts provide a firm grip and allow caregivers to work in a more upright position. The handles on the belts may be positioned vertically, diagonally or horizontally or in a mix of all three. Padded belts provide optimum comfort because narrow, unpadded belts may dig into the patient’s body. 

Patient transfer vests employ a strong, webbing harness to create hand-holds in the front, back or top of the shoulders. Patient transfer systems bring down the amount of force required by the caregiver and help improve the posture of the patient. However, remember that these devices are not for lifting, carrying or supporting the whole or a large part of a patient’s body weight. Safety of both the patient and caregiver should be maintained. Products at Health Products For You are designed to eliminate or minimize risk factors that

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Frequently asked questions

Patients who have good upper trunk strength, strong arms and chest, but who have difficulty with standing are ones who need the transfer board.

Transfer boards made of maple plywood are tougher and hence offer a weight capacity of upto 440 lbs. While those made of plastic can hold weights upto 220 lbs.

It is advisable to have a clutter-free space to move around in when using a transfer board. The caregiver should consider how to position the patient and the furniture, and have plan for a safe transfer before attempting the move.

For a caregiver, a patient transfer board eliminates the strain on the back experienced in lifting a patient completely. For a patient, a transfer board provides safety and ease in moving to a seat. Most patients who are able to use a transfer board can learn to do it with only a little help, and some can use a transfer board completely independently.

These tips can help you perform transfers using transfer boards more safely and easily:

  • Keep the board within easy reach. Never substitute another object if the transfer board is not nearby.
  • Move slowly and carefully. 
  • Transfer between surfaces of similar height. 
  •  Protect your skin from getting pinched or rubbed during the transfer. 
  • Keep your body parts in correct position.
  • Wear any orthopedic devices you have while transferring. 
  • If you have decreased strength or sensation in your upper body, work with a caregiver to help you transfer.

Lateral transfers, sitting a resident/patient up, moving them up the bed and turning them from one side to the other are the type of tasks that can be carried out easily and with the minimum amount of stress using sliding sheets. A wide range of flat sheets with handles and tubular slides have been designed to meet the needs and challenges of both acute and long term care environments.