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Caregivers will tell you that most difficult part of their day is when they coordinate patient transfers from one piece of equipment to another. It’s not only harmful if it is done without preparation, it can be catastrophic if the situation is not assessed properly by a professional. It could be a physical therapist, occupational therapist or a consultant that has long range experience in matching transfer products to the disease, condition, or disability.
In order to understand the transfer process, first make a mental note or list of all the transfers you know you will be doing in a days’ time. For example, Morning – Lunch routine could be; get out of bed, transfer to a wheelchair, transfer to a dining chair for breakfast, transfer to a recliner lift chair, back to the wheelchair, and then perhaps into a shower chair, and lastly, transfer back into bed. There are at least 5-6 transfers a day if you tally the lowest figure. Now imagine transfers of 6 times a day x 7 days a week, and you’ll soon see why this is one of the most difficult and back breaking activities of the caregiver.
Transfers are all difficult, but depending on the condition, transfers for patients suffering from a neurological disorder, brain or spinal cord injury, or Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, and Dementia are often more difficult to move.
Before You Start a Transfer, Assess the Situation
When moving a patient from the bed to the wheelchair, you first have to sit them up if they have trunk stability. If they do not have trunk stability. Most likely your best means of transfer is a patient lift or Hoyer® lift used with a body sling. If they do have trunk stability, after you raise their back to a sitting position, you will move their legs to the side of the bed. Now you are almost ready for the transfer.
Making the Transfer
The first and most important practice, is to lock the brakes of the wheelchair. If you have the ability to flip back, or remove the arm of the wheelchair, it would be good to do that at this point. If your patient can stand, a gait belt with padding would be good to help hold them in place while they stand and pivot. Most often, this is for very short periods so the position of the wheelchair is paramount. You can use a transfer board to slide the patient into the wheelchair. You must have a removable arm or flip back arm wheelchair so they can enter the chair from he side.
New Techniques and Transfer Products
Transfers cause more injuries for caregivers than any other area of service. There is a technique to safe transfers. Some of those techniques are to always bend at the knees, don’t lean forward to pick someone up due to back injuries, and use only padded gait belts that protect the patient when in use. There are also newer and safe transfer tools that will make your transfers far easier with less effort. Some of those products are; slide sheets to shift your patient up in bed or turn to the side of the bed with no friction or soft swivels for chairs and cars ,and even leg bands that stabilize the client when bring to a stand are available. Professional transfer tools have become a mainstay in Home Health care companies, hospitals, rehab facilities and home use.
If you have any questions regarding patient transfers or how to get Professional Transfer Tools, contact the team at Affordable Medical Supply. We provide a range of products to help improve your quality of life. Let our licensed, knowledgeable and compassionate staff help you find what you need today!