The Art of the Transfer

By Laurie Watanabe

(This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Mobility Management.)

In complex rehab’s world of responsive electronics, CAD drawings and space-age materials, it’s easy to see how the lowly transfer gets overlooked. When done correctly, transitions from bed to wheelchair to shower bench to car seat can be mere afterthoughts in a wheelchair user’s day. But when transfers are difficult or unsafe, they open the door to a range of problems, from heightened risk of falls and skin breakdown to reducing participation in activities when wheelchair users and caregivers decide the hassle of a transfer just isn’t worth it. The sheer number of people who use wheelchairs, and the family members, friends and professional caregivers who support them, indicate that mastering the transfer is vital to the overall mobility equation.


To that point, Julie Piriano, PT, ATP/SMS, director of rehab industry affairs for Quantum Rehab, pointed out, “With an estimated 3.3 million wheelchair users in the United States, 1.825 million of whom are greater than 65 years of age, there is a minimum of 6.6 million wheelchair transfers completed every day.”

So what is a successful transfer? “Many may say that the number one goal of a successful transfer is for the wheelchair user to perform the task independently,” Piriano said, “so that he or she can use the chair. However, this really is a subset of the real goal of a successful transfer, which is to prevent falls and avoid injury to the wheelchair user and/or the caregiver.”

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Traxx Mobility Systems manufactures the Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift for home health care. It allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a patient between bed and wheelchair or other assistive device. Designed by a service-disabled veteran, the Titan 500 is proudly made in the U.S.A.

Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

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