How to use a slide board for transferring patients

Updated June 13, 2017

A slide board, also referred to as a transfer board, is an assistive device that creates a bridge between surfaces. The device is made of materials like plastic or wood. The patient is able to scoot across the board, which decreases the need for a caregiver to lift the patient from one surface to another. Knowing the proper steps for using a slide board can increase your confidence and improve the safety of both you and the patient.

Wash hands with soap and water. Dry hands well.

Educate the patient on the use of a slide board and the procedure for use.

Position the wheelchair at a 30- to 45-degree angle from the bed. Remove the wheelchair armrest from the side the person will slide to, move the footrests out of the way and lock the wheels.

Assist the patient to a sitting position on the edge of the bed. The patient should be able to comfortably rest his feet on the floor.

Place one end of the slide board under the patient, between the buttocks and the back part of the thigh. Place the other end of the slide board in the chair seat.

Assemble a gait belt around the patient if needed for extra support. Make sure the gait belt is snug, but not too tight. Grasp each side of the gait belt with an underhanded grip.

Instruct the patient to push up with his arms while slowly moving toward the wheelchair. Teach the patient to lean his head and shoulders in the direction opposite that of the movement.

Instruct the patient to grip the far armrest when it is in reach to provide extra stability.

Assist the patient into a comfortable and safe position. Remove the slide board and gait belt. Replace the wheelchair armrest.


Have the patient transfer to his stronger side. Use these steps as a basic guideline to transfer the patient to other surfaces, for example from a wheelchair to a chair. Practice good body mechanics by keeping your knees bent and your back straight.

Things You'll Need

  • Gait belt
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Since 2008, Jennifer S. Wright has written articles on a variety of topics including parenting concerns, medical conditions and nursing issues. Her articles have appeared in "LPN" magazine as well as on various online publications. An LVN since graduating from Weatherford College in 2005, Wright has taken care of elderly, pediatric and obstetric patients in hospital and home health care settings.