Patient Transfer Techniques

Moving disabled patients is a daily occurrence for healthcare workers. There are simple patient transfer techniques you can use to reduce risk of injury to the patient and yourself.

There are proper patient transfer techniques to use when moving patients alone and when a buddy system is used

Bed to Wheelchair – Alone

When a patient has partial mobility, you can move them from their bed to a wheelchair by yourself. Using the proper technique will insure both you and the patient will be fine. First, help them sit up in bed and swing their legs and feet over the side of the bed. Put your arms around their torso help them scoot to the edge of the bed. It is best if their feet are together and flat on the floor. Make sure the wheelchair is parallel to the bed, footrests are off or out of the way, and wheelchair brakes are locked. Following these steps will decrease potential back strain.

Step 1. Place your feet on the outside of their feet. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Have them place their hands on your shoulders as you put your arms around their torso.



Step 2. Straighten your knees and hips lifting them to a standing position.





Step 3. Pivot them towards the chair. Keep your back as straight as possible.






Step 4. When they feel the chair seat on the back of their legs, have them grasp the wheelchair arms as you bend your knees lowering them into their wheelchair.




If the person is too heavy for you to lift alone, use a transfer or gait belt and two “lifters.” The gait belt should be positioned around their waist with just enough room for your fingers to get underneath the belt. A gait or transfer belt could also be helpful with one “lifter”.

Bed to Stretcher – Buddy System

When moving a patient from a bed or floor to a stretcher the Buddy System Patient Transfer Technique is best. For a friction-free transfer, you can use a transfer board. To position the board, gently roll the patient to their side towards you. The Buddy will slide the transfer board just under the patient’s side and you will roll them to their back on to the board.

For easier transfer on to the board, it is best to use a draw sheet on top of the transfer board. Once the transfer board and draw sheet are positioned, the receiving person pulls on the draw sheet, bracing themselves against the bed, sliding patient and draw sheet on to the transfer board. Once moved, roll the patient towards the receiver and remove the transfer board.

Patient Transfer Techniques

Lifting and Transferring – Buddy System

Lifting a disabled person from their bed or wheelchair requires two to four people when utilizing a transfer device like the Tuk-‘N-Kari™ one person can hold and lift the patient as if they are moving them from the wheelchair while the other can position the Tuk-‘N-Kari™ beneath them. When both are ready, bend the knees and lift the patient as if they were in a sling.

This patient transfer technique works well for situations where wheelchair access is limited or non-existent. Simply walk carefully to your destination.

patient transfet techniques


There are several techniques that can be employed to move disabled people from one place to the other. You can move them alone in certain situations, but having a lifting partner is best.

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