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Transfer Devices

Transferring a patient from one place to another can become a literal pain – but it doesn’t have to be. Transfer boards and other transfer aids, such as transfer belts, make it both easier and safer for a caregiver to move immobile patients to and from a bed, wheelchair, car, toilet and more. Read More...

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How to Choose A Transfer Device

The transfer device that is best for you or your patient will differ depending on the person’s individual physical capabilities. Whether a patient is ill, bariatric or just needs a bit of help getting around, a transfer device can help provide an easy, dignified patient transfer, no matter the person’s mobility capability. Since even those with limited physical ability need to take care of things and move about, we offer various transfer aids, with options available for every stage of mobility.

Gait Belt

The transfer gait belt is a device utilized to safely transfer a patient from a sitting position to a standing one, or vice versa. Transfer belts are also used to support a patient who is walking. A caregiver holds onto the belt to lift or move a person.

When utilized correctly, a gait belt allows for safer patient handling, and provides assistance to the caregiver. It aids the caregiver in providing stability and support when a patient is losing balance or starting to fall. Many transfer belts come with handles to hold onto, which ease the process of steadying a patient. All gait belts reduce back strain from lifting patients, and help protect the patient from injuries.

How To Use A Gait Belt:

The gait belt is placed snugly around the patient’s waist, over his or her clothing, with the buckle in the front. There should be just enough room for your fingers to slip gently under the belt to support or lift the patient.

How to Lift a Patient with a Gait Belt

  1. Lifting: When lifting a patient with the aid of a transfer belt, the person about to be lifted should push down on the surface he is currently atop of. You, the caregiver, should take hold of the gait belt on both sides; one hand at the right, and one at the left, keeping your palms flat. Bend your knees slightly, and lift the person at the waist under the belt using the strength of your arm and leg muscles (and not of your back muscles). Only bend your lower back when lifting a patient, and don’t keep your legs locked. Gently assist and support the patient in rising, and straighten your knees as you go along.
  2. Walking: Gait belts can also be of use if you assist patients in walking; they allow the patient to walk somewhat independently, while still secure in the knowledge that you are there for him in case he falters.

Stand behind, yet to the side of the individual under your care, and allow him to walk. Support the patient by putting a hand under the medical belt. Keep your hand flat, with the palm side of the hand facing outward, and place your other hand on the person’s back.

If patient starts to fall, allow the patient to safely sink to the ground. Use the belt to direct the downward movement of the patient, and have the patient descend with his spine sliding down the front of your leg.

Gait Belt Options

Lift belts are available with many different features. Some have strong, durable metal buckles that offer maximum hold, some are machine washable, while others offer hand grips for increased stability. Some gait belts, like the Posey Medical Belt, can support nearly 350 pounds.

There are two focal kinds of gait belts available. The standard gait belt for elderly or disabled individuals that is used by caregivers features a metal buckle, and has loops and teeth. This belt is threaded through the teeth of the buckle, and put through a loop to lock it. There is also a quick release belt, which features a plastic buckle that snaps into place.

Transfer Board

A patient transfer board is a flat, sturdy device developed to allow patients with limited mobility to move safely from one place to another, with minimal risk of falls. Using a transfer board lessens the caregiver’s risk for back and leg injuries while assisting patients in transferring. Average-sized wheelchair transfer boards, like those offered at AvaCare Medical, will fit easily on a stair lift chair, the edge of a bed, the rim of a toilet seat, or on a wheelchair or car seat. They can be used to transfer a patient smoothly, or to allow an individual to move on his own from one of these locations to another.

Transfer Board Options

People need to move to and from many different places. To assist individuals with limited mobility in doing just that, there are various sizes of transferring boards available. A shorter transfer board is typically used for getting onto or off a bed, toilet seat or chair in a home. If you, your loved one or your patient is in need of assistance when it comes to entering and exiting a vehicle, a longer transfer board is in order.

Measuring the transferring distance between your locations is a great way to choose the best size medical transfer board for your needs.

Leg Lifter for Beds

The leg lifter strap enables the patient with more upper than lower limb strength to lift his legs onto, or off of his bed or seat without any assistance. Leg lifters are most commonly utilized for repositioning by someone who has undergone or is scheduled to have any sort of leg surgery, an individual who has suffered a hip, knee, or leg injury, or a person with limited mobility.

How to Use a Leg Lifter

  1. Sit on edge of the bed, with your bottom as far back as possible.
  2. Put the hoop of the leg lifter around your right leg, and grasp the other side of the loop with your hand.
  3. Lie down on your side or lie flat on your back.
  4. Pull on the leg lifter, using your upper body muscle, so that your foot is moving up and onto the bed.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4, this time with your left foot.

Pivot Disc

A transfer disc can be of great assistance when dealing with a patient who is able to stand on his own, but finds it hard to move his feet. This device is utilized in transfers between the bed, toilet or wheelchair.

How to Use a Pivot Disc

The patient can stand on the disc, and the caregiver uses his toe to rotate the disc in a circle. Place your foot on the disc to prevent it from rotating on its own when the patient is not yet fully steady on the disk. Once the patient is stably standing on the disc, slowly push the rim of the disc with your toe in a circle, rotating the disc so that the patient is standing with his back facing the object he will be transferred to. Hold onto the patient tightly while he stands on the disc, or have him grab onto a sturdy object, like a wheelchair that is locked in place, to prevent unnecessary falls or injuries and allow for safe patient handling. When he is standing in the correct position, put your foot back on the disc to keep it in place, and assist the patient in sitting on the desired object.

Transfer Sheets

Transfer sheets are utilized when transferring people with little to no mobility. Oftentimes, a slide sheet comes equipped with a hard plastic insert, which increases rigidity and allows you to slide the product under the patient more smoothly and easily.

The patient transfer sheet has several other names, although they all serve a similar purpose. Products called transfer gurneys or transfer slides both fit into this category as well, so if you see or hear any of these terms, know that they’re interchangeable, and they’re all referring to the same transferring device.

Transfer Sling

These slings are used together with a hoist or lifter as support for a patient with extremely limited to no mobility capacity. The patient who is being transferred with the sling should have full head and neck control, and should be able to bend at the hips, knees and ankles. He should also be capable of sitting up in bed, with aid or without.

There are several sling styles, each designed for different circumstances.



All of these options - the transfer board, gait belt, slide transfer, leg lifter, pivot disc, and transfer sling - are popular transfer aids which seniors and their caregivers derive benefit from. They ease the transfer process so that it is smoother than ever before.

AvaCare Medical has a quality selection of safe patient handling products, with numerous affordable options available of each device. With our famous expedited shipping, you know you’ll be getting your transfer aid quickly, when you need it!