How to Use a Sliding Transfer Board

Written by ln shapely
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How to Use a Sliding Transfer Board
A sliding transfer board can help wheelchair users move to another location. (elderly couple relaxing in wheelchairs in the sun image by L. Shat from

A sliding transfer board is the critical bridge for wheelchair users changing locations when they are unable to do so by standing. Made of wood or plastic, it is slipped under the thigh and buttocks of the user and extended over the gap between surfaces. Many people can bear their weight lightly to scoot across the bridge, though a passive person may need to be assisted through use of a transfer belt.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Transfer Board

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  1. 1

    Remove the wheelchair arm by the method suggested for the model you're using. They have simple catches, latches or screws so the arm and side panel will lift completely off. Align the wheelchair as close as possible to the car seat, shower seat, bed or toilet. Parking the chair at a 30-degree angle will keep the wheel away from the transfer area. Set both wheel locks. Most chairs have lock levers to lower beside or behind each wheel. Fold the foot rests up and out of the way.

  2. 2

    Place the sliding board on the seat of the wheelchair and across the gap to the other surface. One-third of the board needs to be on the wheelchair seat, one-third across the gap, with the remaining third resting firmly on the other surface. Cover it with a towel to protect your skin or keep your clothing on until the transfer is through. Lift your thigh and buttock and slip one edge of the board under them. Check for a secure bridging on both sides.

  3. 3

    Slide across the board with your own lifting power or with assistance if needed. Remove the sliding board when the transfer is completed. Keep the board nearby to assist in returning.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use a board if the angle involved is too steep or the gap is too wide to complete the transfer securely. Ask for assistance if necessary. Some transfers cannot be made using a board.

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