by In The Know
What are safe transfers?

Safe transfers involve assisting clients to move from one location to another without any harm coming to them or to you. Safe transfers require that you use proper body mechanics and that you encourage your clients to do the same.

What are body mechanics?

Body mechanics are the way your whole body moves to keep its balance during movement and at rest. When you practice good posture and use the right muscles to lift and/or transfer, you are performing your work with proper body mechanics. (The right muscles are usually the large muscle groups, like your shoulders, upper arms, hips and thighs.) If your clients don’t use good body mechanics, they might develop backaches and contractures. If you don’t use good body mechanics, you might get backaches, pulled muscles or even more serious back problems.

What are transfer techniques?

The procedures you use to move clients from one place to another are "transfer techniques". These procedures spell out how to use good body mechanics to accomplish each transfer. Some examples of transfer techniques are moving a client up in bed, from a bed to a chair, or from a chair to a commode.

Think about the transfer before you do it!

• Plan how you are going to perform the transfer. Don’t just rush into it.

• If you’ve never transferred a particular client before, go through the entire transfer in your mind before you begin.

• Before you start, be sure you know if the client is physically able to participate in the transfer.

• If the client is alert, let him or her know what you plan to do step by step. Talk about how the client can help and encourage him or her to assist as much as possible.

• Taking time to plan is worth it. Remember: It’s tough to ask for help when you’ve got a client half in bed and half out of bed!

Get help if you need it!

• Be realistic about how much weight you can safely lift.

• Gather transfer equipment if the client is too heavy or too difficult for you to move yourself.

• If you work alone in a client’s home, ask your supervisor how you ca safely transfer the client. Sometimes there are family members who can help you, or the family may need to rent or buy some transfer equipment.

• Remember: If you are shy about asking for help, the client and you may both end up hurt. So when in doubt, ask for assistance!