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The Value of Transfer Boards

Geriatric Article   (7,147 Views | 1 Replies | 521 Words)

UM Review RN is a ASN, RN and specializes in Utilization Management.

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There are some tools that have been around for a long time but are rarely used because Medicare or Medicaid will not pay for them. Transfer boards, also called slide boards, fit into this category.

The Value of Transfer Boards

When I asked why they were not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, I was told that a sliding board is a tool that helps the caregiver 's back more than the patient. While it is true that a transfer board does cut down on back strain for caregivers, sliding boards are certainly a good option for those who take care of a loved one at home.

Like handrails for bathrooms and raised toilet seats, these patient assists help prevent falls and increase independence for the wheelchair-bound patient or for those patients who are wobbly on their feet or who have a "trick" knee that can give out without warning. They can range in price from less than $50 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the type of materials used and the style of the board.

The transfer board is usually a piece of highly lacquered wood. One end is positioned under the buttock of the patient and the other is placed onto the seat they will move onto. The patient slides across the board from one place to the other without the need to stand. The patient can also learn to get from the bed to the chair, wheelchair, toilet, or bath seat, by himself. Transfers to car seats are a little trickier because of the difference in height between a car seat and a wheelchair, but with practice, they can also be a great tool for getting in and out of a car.

An example of the type of patient who benefitted greatly from the use of a sliding board was a patient I had once who was recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome and was not quite strong enough to stand long enough to transfer. The patient felt more secure using the transfer board for a few weeks. As her mobility increased with the use of the transfer board, her muscle strength increased, and she was able to move more confidently.

The caregiver's back is spared because the caregiver only makes sure that the board is placed properly and that the patient can slide over while still seated. The patient enjoys freedom from the fear of hurting the caregiver or himself.

The patient must have the muscle strength to be able to accomplish the slight lift of the buttock and strong sideways maneuver. The caregiver must learn to simply guide and "spot," not lift, the patient. Sometimes a little dusting of powder can help keep the board slippery enough to effect the transfer smoothly.

There are a few types of transfer boards. Some are made of wood and are a simple, straight piece of wood with tapered sides so that the piece can fit under the buttocks more readily. Other types are made of plastic. Some types have a seat that can swivel, making it even easier for the patient to transfer. All of these types are sturdy and made to last.

I have found that they can be well worth the money for certain patients and I wish that they were used more often.

Utilization Review Registered Nurse

7 Articles; 28,822 Profile Views; 5,163 Posts

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Silverdragon102 has 32 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

7 Followers; 1 Article; 39,167 Posts; 144,822 Profile Views

In the UK there is a no lifting policy and the hospital has to provide all sorts of lifting and moving equipment for the nurses to use. Transfer boards, slide sheets are great.

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