Safety precautions to be Observed while Using the Transfer Board
Nurse educated the patient and caregiver on the safety precautions to be observed while using the transfer board as follows:
- Make sure the transfer board chosen can handle your weight. Check for the weight limitations allowed on the transfer board. Having a most recent weight reading available can help choose the board that best suits your needs.
- Make sure the transfer board is not broken or compromised, which can poorly support you during the transfer, thus contributing to a fall. Also, make sure the transfer board is not chipped or cracked on the edges along the end of the board being placed under your bottom. The chipped or cracked transfer board edges can lead to pinching of skin on the bottom, compromised skin integrity, and lead to an open wound on the bottom.
- Wear comfortable clothes when using the transfer board. Loose and frizzy clothing, such as, a hospital gown, can interfere with the secure placement of the transfer board under the patient’s bottom, thus compromising safety during transfer and can lead to a fall.
- For a safe transfer to happen between two surfaces, the surfaces must stay stable. Any instability or movement of the surfaces while the transfer is in progress can lead to poor balance, compromise the safety, and result in a fall or accident. If the transfer is happening between wheelchair and chair, make sure the wheelchair is locked and the chair is stable. You can seek caregiver assistance to hold the chair in place for enhanced stability, if needed.
- The transfer board should be tucked in good enough under the bottom, so that it does not slide over along with you, while the transfer is in progress. This sliding over of the board in the mid of transfer offers poor support and can result in a fall. Make sure the transfer board is secure in place. Lift your hip up on the side of the surface/furniture to which transfer is being planned, by leaning over to the opposite side. Grabbing the thigh and pulling it over to the opposite side also helps provide enough room under the bottom to scoot the transfer board in place. A rough measure could be a third of the transfer board from one end placed under your bottom.
- Individuals using transfer boards employ both arms to drag and push themselves across the transfer board during the process. Also, sufficient core body strength and coordination are needed to support and slide their own body weight across the transfer board, without falling off the board. So, individuals using transfer boards require decent arm strength and core body strength. Individuals must observe compliance with performing exercises to strengthen the upper arms and core body, such as, chair push-ups, single knee to chest, and tummy tucks, as allowed.
- While the transfer board is not in use, have it close by within an arm distance reach and you should be able to grab your board easily. Stretching too far to reach out to the board could impair balance and contribute to enhancing fall risk.
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