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Transfer Safety

by David M. Graham

The Safety Challenge

 Providing care for an infirm loved one or client in the home can be a difficult situation for either a family or professional caregiver.  Often you find yourself working alone, faced with the decision as to whether a move can safely be affected.  The dangers of fall related injury can be avoided by simply not moving the patient - but the dangers of immobility related injuries include pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and urinary tract infection are equally hazardous and more certain to occur if mobility is not achieved.  Fortunately there are tools to assist in this situation - including the transfer belt and the transfer board.

The Transfer Belt

 Also called the gait belt, this simple tool is just what it sounds like - a belt which can be applied close to the center of gravity of the person to be moved, providing a convenient grip for the caregiver and spreading the force of the move over a wider area of the skin.  Combined with a knee bracing or other maneuver the belt provides the care provider with more leverage and thus better control of the move.  Such use does require some practice and supervised training by a qualified physical therapist, nurse or physician is highly advisable before use by the family caregiver.  A frequently encountered problem is that the training is often more readily available than the belt.  Life Solutions Plus, Inc. meets that need by stocking the Assure Safety Transfer Belt in 3 sizes (small, medium and large).  You can call for other sizes.

The Transfer Board

The transfer board is another simple but helpful device.  Consisting of a slab of polished wood, smooth plastic or metal in its simplest form, the board is used to provide support during the transfer - thus minimizing the demand for weight bearing by both patient and care giver.   Lifesolutionsplus.com offers an 8" wide Maple transfer board in 24 inch and 30 inch lengths suitable for transfer between chairs.  This board is rated to handle up to 200lbs.  Training in home use is essential and should include use of ancillary equipment - such as locking of wheelchairs.

Transfer Benches

Transfer benches are  wide seats with a broad base suitable for assisting with transfers over obstacles such as bath tub and shower stall rims.  This makes them nearly indispensable in enhancing bathroom mobility and safety when poor balance, gait or general weakness make it difficult to stand for period sufficient to shower properly or just to move in and out of a bath tub.   We offer two models at present - the Norco Tub Transfer Bench which is rated to 250 lbs, and the Carex Universal Transfer Bench - rated to 400 lbs.

 As always, if you don't find what you need here - feel free to call us at the number in the site header to let us know what you need.

This article was published on Friday 27 August, 2010.
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