Patient Transfer Checklist

Written by charles pearson
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Patient Transfer Checklist
Patients sometimes need to be moved to locations where they can be properly cared for. (patient image by JASON WINTER from

In the hospital setting, patients sometimes need to be transferred to different wards in order to receive different kinds of care. In order to avoid medical mistakes and to speed along the process of medical transfer, a variety of procedures must be followed. Also, patients have many rights, such as the right to privacy and the right to receive information regarding their transfer, which must be respected.

Medically Stable

The patient should be identified as medically stable before being transferred to a different unit, unless the patient has a medical emergency and needs to be quickly transferred to a different hospital ward.


One person must be authorised to receive information about the patient regarding sensitive medical issues in the event that the patient is incapable of making decisions for herself, according to the University of Utah.

Contagious Diseases

Patients with highly contagious diseases should be transferred following the standard procedures through which these contagious diseases are managed.

Primary Care

The patient's primary care provider or physician should be identified and contacted when the patient is transferred, according to the University of Utah.

Medical History

The patient's medical history and physical should be sent to the patient's next care provider and this information should be reviewed thoroughly by those providing care for the patient. The medical history should include all clinical lab results, diagnostic studies, slides from biopsies, medications and vital signs.

Insurance Card

The patient's insurance card often needs to be photocopied so that the medical billing and coding specialists and other medical staff are aware of the patient's insurance status, according to the University of Iowa. The patient's insurance should not impact the medical treatments available to the patient.


When the individual is transferred, the health care provider should note whether or not the individual is aware that he is being transferred, according to the University of Utah. Whether or not the patient needs an interpreter must be identified so that the next hospital unit that the patient is transferred to can make arrangements for an interpreter when necessary, according to the University of Iowa.

Risk Assessment

The risk that the patient holds should be assessed, since some patients with criminal backgrounds or mental disorders might be dangerous to other patients and the hospital staff, according to Newcastle Hospitals. If necessary, the patient should be given an escort. The escort should be aware of the patient's care plan.


Patients are usually not transferred at later hours unless there is an emergency. At Newcastle Hospital, patients are not transferred after 5:00 p.m. unless necessary.


The patient's valuables must be brought with the patient with the patient's help---if the patient is medically able to---or with the help of a family member, according to Newcastle Hospital.

Electronic Database

The ward where the patient is being transferred should be notified of the transfer and all transfer information should be entered into an electronic database, according to Newcastle Hospital.

Life Support

All life-support measures--such as oxygen tubes---must be continued throughout the process of patient transfer.

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