Transfer Boards

Original Editor - Robin Tacchetti

Top Contributors - Robin Tacchetti and Naomi O'Reilly

Intro[edit | edit source]

Transfer boards also known as sliding boards are commonly rigid, flat boards made of wood or plastic. The board acts as a bridge to allow individuals to move from one seated surface to another such as moving from a wheelchair to a bed. Transferring in this fashion allows the user to move with small gradual movements versus one large motion. The aim in using a transfer or sliding board is to support independence for the user and less exertion from the caregiver.[1] [2] [3] [4]. Some wheelchair users can transfer up to 14 times a day even though it could be the most difficult wheelchair skill.[4]

Patient populations who might benefit from the use of a sliding board include:

  • someone with difficulty weight bearing through both leg
  • someone who has pain with transferring may find it easier in sitting
  • someone who is at risk for falls or balance issues[5]

Specifics of Transfer Boards[edit | edit source]

The type of transfer board used is specific to the individual's needs. Transfer boards can either by straight or curved. The curved boards are generally used for transferring around obstacles like hand-rests. The board should have a non-slip backing to ensure that it stays place during the transfer. Sliding boards have rounded edges and smooth top surfaces to decrease any skin friction. Before using the board, ensure the patient does not have any skin breakdown.[6]

Safety of Transfer Boards[edit | edit source]

Before teaching an individual to use a sliding board, there are some safety issues that need to be assessed.

  1. check the weight limit on the board
  2. ensure there is no risk for a pressure wound
  3. check the height difference from the two transferring surfaces; the larger difference the more difficult the transfer[6]

Setting up the Transfer[edit | edit source]

  1. begin my bringing the two surfaces as close together as possible
  2. if in a wheelchair:
    • position at angle to surface transferring to
    • put brakes on
    • remove footrests and armrests if possible[5]
  3. have the user move to the front surface of what they are seated on
  4. have feet flat on floor
  5. have the user tilt to side to lift their buttock up in order to place slide board underneath[6]

Transfers[edit | edit source]

General Transfers[edit | edit source]

This video by the Craig Hospital demonstrates sliding board transfers with 2 person assist, 1 person assist and independently:

Wheelchair to Bed[edit | edit source]

This video by the World Health Organization demonstrates transferring from wheelchair to bed:

Wheelchair to Car[edit | edit source]

This video by Helen Hayes Hospiital demonstrates transferring from wheelchair to chair:

Wheelchair to Toilet[edit | edit source]

This video EquipMeOT demonstrates the difficult transfer from wheelchair to toilet:

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sun C, Buchholz B, Quinn M, Punnett L, Galligan C, Gore R. Ergonomic evaluation of slide boards used by home care aides to assist client transfers. Ergonomics. 2018 Jul 3;61(7):913-22.
  2. Hwang J, Kuppam VA, Chodraju SS, Chen J, Kim JH. Commercially available friction-reducing patient-transfer devices reduce biomechanical stresses on caregivers’ upper extremities and low back. Human factors. 2019 Nov;61(7):1125-40.
  3. Koyama S, Tanabe S, Saitoh E, Otaka Y, Ohta H, Tatemoto T, Kumazawa N, Katoh A, Sugiyama Y, Kiyono K, Kanada Y. Comparison of two methods of bed-to/from-wheelchair transfer in patients with hemiparetic stroke. Fujita medical journal. 2020;6(3):81-6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Koyama S, Tanabe S, Otaka Y, Kato T, Furuzawa S, Tatemoto T, Kumazawa N, Yoshimuta H, Torii K, Tsukada S, Saitoh E. Novel lateral transfer assist robot decreases the difficulty of transfer in post-stroke hemiparesis patients: a pilot study. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. 2020 Sep 12:1-5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bergman R, De Jesus O. Patient Care Transfer Techniques. 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 World Health Organization: Training in Assistive Products (TAP). 2020. Available from