Patient transfers are routine tasks in healthcare settings, involving the movement of patients between various surfaces such as beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, and cars. These transfers require careful planning, coordination, and proper techniques to ensure patient comfort and safety while preventing caregiver injuries. This article outlines the step-by-step procedures for transferring patients from a bed to a stretcher, bed to a wheelchair, using slide boards, and performing the log-rolling technique.
Bed to Stretcher Transfer:
- Identify the required number of staff for the transfer, typically 3-4 providers.
- Prepare the patient by explaining their role in the transfer and gathering necessary supplies.
- Adjust the bed’s height, lock the brakes, and lower guard rails.
- Position the patient near the side of the bed where the transfer will occur.
- Place a sheet on a slider board to reduce friction.
- Carefully slide the patient onto the slider board.
- Move the stretcher close to the patient and ensure its brakes are locked.
- Distribute the healthcare team evenly around the patient.
- Initiate the transfer with a coordinated movement.
- Slide the patient onto the stretcher’s center.
- Remove the slider board, ensuring the patient’s comfort and coverage with sheets.
- Raise the guard rails and adjust the stretcher’s height as needed.
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer:
- Apply the patient’s footwear before ambulation.
- Adjust the bed’s height, lower guard rails, and place the wheelchair next to the bed, ideally at a 45-degree angle with brakes applied.
- Sit the patient on the bed’s edge with feet on the floor.
- Attach a gait belt around the patient’s waist, if necessary.
- Position hands on the patient’s waist.
- The provider places their legs outside the patient’s legs.
- Assist the patient in shifting their weight in a rocking motion until reaching a standing position.
- Guide the patient to take a few small steps backward until touching the wheelchair’s back.
- Have the patient grasp the wheelchair.
- Shift the provider’s weight as the patient sits in the wheelchair, using the wheelchair’s arms for support.
- Ensure patient comfort and coverage in the wheelchair.
- For the return transfer from wheelchair to bed, ensure proper positioning of the wheelchair and follow safety guidelines.
Slide Boards Transfer:
- Place a transfer belt around the patient’s hips/buttocks.
- Position the wheelchair close to the bed and secure the brakes.
- Remove the wheelchair’s armrest and swing away the footrests.
- Insert the slide board under the patient’s buttock/leg.
- Make sure the slide board extends between the bed and the wheelchair.
- Position one knee between the patient’s knees and the other near the wheelchair’s front.
- Hold the transfer belt and slide the patient across the board.
- Use a plastic garbage bag to reduce friction if needed.
- The log-rolling procedure aims to move a patient without flexing the spinal column. It is crucial for patients with spinal injuries.
- Ensure neck support and in-line traction for neck injury concerns.
- Keep the patient’s arms on their sides or crossed over their chest.
- Use a pillow between the legs for support.
- Exercise caution and consider alternatives for patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Patient transfers involve multiple techniques and considerations to ensure both patient safety and caregiver well-being. Proper communication, equipment usage, and adherence to guidelines are essential for successful transfers. Whether it’s moving a patient from a bed to a stretcher, bed to a wheelchair, utilizing slide boards, or performing a log-rolling procedure, healthcare providers must prioritize safety and comfort during these routine tasks.