Transfer devices are aids that can help when you have limited mobility and need to move more easily to and from a wheelchair, bed, car, bathtub or toilet. Devices include transfer boards, transfer poles and pivoting devices that you can step on and swivel to move from one position to another.
If you’re unable to stand or feel unsteady, but are strong enough to move using your arms, you can use a transfer board by sitting on it and sliding across to get from one surface to another. When you need the help of a caregiver to make a transfer, using a transfer board will make the transfer easier and safer.
Patient transfer boards come in a variety of shapes and lengths. For transfers across a larger gap, such as between a wheelchair and a car seat, a long transfer board may be needed. If the gap is shorter, such as between a chair and a toilet seat or bed, a smaller transfer board should be enough. There are also specially designed wheelchair transfer boards that may be curved or notched to make getting in and out of a wheelchair easier. Measure the typical distance of your transfers to buy the right length patient transfer board for your needs.
The surface of a patient transfer board should be smooth enough to allow you to glide across it without difficulty, whether you’re doing this on your own or with assistance. Transfer boards are often made from hardwood with a highly polished surface or from high density, heavy-duty plastic. As an example, the Wood Transfer Board from Mabis is made from maple that is urethane sealed, coated and polished for smooth transfers and its design features a cut-out handle for better gripping.
When caregivers assist in a transfer, placing a transfer belt around the patient’s waist can provide leverage as well as make the transfer safer for everyone involved. For instance, the SafetySure Transfer Belt has many handgrips that provide a variety of leverage points and reduce strain on a caregiver’s back. Its slip-resistant inner liner keeps the belt in place during transfers and is available in three waist sizes.
If turning in bed is a problem because of Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, back pain, stiffness or any other type of difficulty, the SafetySure TurnEase can help. When placed on top of your sheet, just below the bottom of the pillow, the TurnEase’s slick, low friction surface makes turning as well as getting into and out of bed easier.
A pivot transfer disc is a useful device when you’re strong enough to stand, but unable to pivot to the side to perform the transfer. With a transfer disc in place on the floor, a caregiver helps the seated patient place their feet on the disc, then provides support as he or she stands on it. A transfer disc can be turned up to 90 degrees, enabling you to reach and sit on the target surface, such as a wheelchair.