Updated August 18, 2018 by Melissa Harr

The 10 Best Transfer Boards

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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. For hospital, nursing home, or private home use, these transfer boards make it much easier to move someone from a bed or seat to a wheelchair and vice versa. They enable individuals and caregivers to navigate tricky maneuvers, like getting someone into the shower, with less risk of hurting themselves or their patient. Just be sure to follow all instructions, as improper use can lead to injury. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best transfer board on Amazon.

10. Drive Medical RTL7047

9. Beasy Bariatric Easy Grip

8. Mobility Transfer Systems Double-Notched

7. Mabis DMI Southern Pine

6. MTS SafetySure

5. Drive Medical RTL6046

4. Reliance 30-Inch

3. Composite Medical Distributors UltraSlick

2. Beasy Board Original

1. Duro-Med Bariatric

Who Needs A Transfer Board

Paraplegics are often capable of completing fully independent transfers, whereas hemiplegics will generally need an assisted transfer.

Transfer boards are one of the safest and most convenient methods to transfer patients. They are typically made from wood or some type of rigid plastic and used to bridge two surfaces of roughly equal height. The main benefit of a transfer board is that they allow a patient to move themselves, or be moved, without having to use their legs. They also break the transfer up into many small movements instead of one big, jarring motion.

Transfer boards are integral in independent and assisted transfers. An independent transfer is when the patient performs all of the actions involved in the transfer. This includes setting up the board, lifting themselves off of the current surface they are sitting or lying on, and sliding themselves across the board. In assisted transfers, the aide will perform some of the actions and the patient will perform others. For example, the aide may set up the board, but the patient does the work of sliding themselves across it. Another example would be when the aide and the patient work together to slide the patient across the board, thereby making it easier for the aide and also making the patient feel useful.

The best candidates for transfer boards are those with good upper body strength, but who have difficulty standing, such as paraplegics or hemiplegics. Paraplegics are often capable of completing fully independent transfers, whereas hemiplegics will generally need an assisted transfer. Patients who have recently had a knee replacement, ankle surgery, or who are in a cast for a broken leg are also good candidates for transfer board use. Any patient that is combative, cannot sit independently, or suffers from any form of dizziness or disorientation is not a candidate for board transfers.

Benefits Of A Transfer Board For Caregivers And Patients

Transfer boards are not just beneficial for the patient, but also for the caregiver. Physical injury of caregivers while turning, transferring, of lifting a patient is actually quite frequent. Studies have found that nearly 52 percent of caregivers have experienced some form of musculoskeletal injury when moving a patient, usually affecting the back. This is because the spin provides the majority of the support for the human body and is one of the most vulnerable areas to injury caused from repetitive lifting of heavy objects.

Physical injury of caregivers while turning, transferring, of lifting a patient is actually quite frequent.

A recent survey of 46 non-professional caregivers admitted to hospitals in West Yorkshire, England for care-related injuries found that 36 of them had injured themselves while lifting their loved one. The study found that toileting was one of the most difficult tasks, most likely because it involves a succession of lifts and awkward movements on both the caregiver's and patient's part. The timing is often unpredictable, as well, so there is rarely a chance that the caregiver is able to ask for additional help.

It is not just the caregiver that is at risk of injury during transfers, but the patient, too. Of the 46 caregivers surveyed, 16 admitted to accidentally injuring their loved one at some point during a transfer or other handling. If a caregiver injures their back during a transfer or doesn't use the proper stance and loses their balance, both the patient and caregiver may fall, resulting in additional injuries. In addition to reducing the possibility of patient injury, a transfer board can provide a sense of independence. A disabled person who previously required aid to move from their wheelchair to their bed or toilet may be able to use a transfer board to accomplish these tasks independently. This results in a higher quality of life and increased dignity, which are vital to mental well-being.

There are a number of other accessories that can also help to minimize the chance of patient or caregiver injury. Securely installing grab bars near the toilet or in the shower give the patient more ability to assist the caregiver during transfers. Toilet seat risers reduce the need for the caregiver to lean over as far when setting a patient onto the toilet, reducing strain on the back. You can also purchase an adjustable shower bench to make transfers to and from the tub easier.

Independent Transfer Board Usage And Safety Tips

You should only use a transfer board for transfers between two surfaces of roughly equal height. If there is more than a half-inch height discrepancy between the two surfaces, performing a transfer is significantly more difficult and there is an increased risk of injury. If you find that your wheelchair and your bed, couch, or any other surface that you would like to perform independent transfers to are more than a half-inch apart in height, install risers on your furniture to make them level. The two surfaces must also be relatively close to each other. A transfer board should always significantly overlap the edges of both surfaces. Never try and perform a transfer over a span that is too large for the transfer board you own.

You may need to move your upper body in one motion, and then individually slide each of your legs into the correct position.

During the transfer, use one hand to hold onto a stable surface to provide support. This may be an armrest on the wheelchair, a strategically placed grab bar, or the frame of a bed. Whenever transferring yourself from a wheelchair, always check to make sure the brake is securely locked into place. If performing the transfer with the help of a caregiver, you can use their shoulder for support.

Move slowly as you transfer yourself across the board. Perform your transfer in a series of small movements, rather than one or two large motions. This makes it safer and also gives you a chance to regain your balance between each movement. Always pay attention to the placement of your body parts during the transfer. You may need to move your upper body in one motion, and then individually slide each of your legs into the correct position.

If possible, you should always wear clothes or some other type of covering during transfers. This can be as simple as wrapping yourself in a sheet when transferring out of bed. Do your best to avoid dragging your buttocks to reduce the possibility of chafing caused by excessive friction.

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Melissa Harr
Last updated on August 18, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.


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