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How to Use a Curved Transfer Board

Updated March 21, 2019

A transfer board, also known as a sliding board, is used to assist a person who cannot stand up and move from one place to another. It is approximately 2 feet long and made of wood or plastic. A transfer board may be straight or curved. A curved transfer board is more versatile because it allows transfers, such as bed to wheelchair and wheelchair to toilet or car, to be performed at an angle.

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  1. Align your wheelchair with your bed at approximately 90 degrees with the stronger side of your body toward the bed.

  2. Lock your wheelchair brakes, remove your leg rests and the wheelchair arm rest on the side facing the bed.

  3. Lean away from the bed and lift your hip that is facing the bed off the seat of the wheelchair.

  4. Position one end of the transfer board under your lifted hip and buttocks, holding the board in a "U" position so that you will slide along the curve of the board. Be sure that the other end of the board is resting in a stable position on the bed.

  5. Sit down on the board. Using your arms as leverage, begin sliding along the board until you are completely on the bed.

  6. Lean to the side, lifting your hip that is on top of the transfer board and remove the board.

  7. Position your wheelchair at a 90-degree angle from the toilet, lock the brakes and remove your leg rests. If you have a raised toilet seat with arm rests, you will need to position your wheelchair more to the front of the toilet seat.

  8. Remove the wheelchair arm rest that is on the same side as the toilet.

  9. Lift your hip that is facing the toilet and slide one end of the transfer board under your buttocks. Position the transfer board to allow you to slide along the "U" part of the board.

  10. Using your arms for leverage, slide along the transfer board until you are over the toilet seat. You can pull on the arm rests of a raised toilet seat for additional leverage.

  11. Lean away from the board and remove it from underneath your hip. Lower your clothing after you are safely positioned on the toilet seat. If your clothing must be removed prior to the transfer, place a washcloth or pillowcase between your skin and the transfer board to minimise friction and reduce the chance of tearing your skin.

  12. Tip

    To transfer from your wheelchair to a car seat, follow the same instructions listed for wheelchair to toilet transfers. To minimise risk of injury, do not attempt to use a transfer board for a car transfer unless the height of the car seat is within 2 inches of the height of your wheelchair seat. Lift your legs over the car door threshold when necessary during the transfer process to maintain good body alignment and to avoid twisting your back.


    Use a transfer board that is rated appropriately for your weight. Have another person assist you to improve the safety of your transfer.

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About the Author

Aubrey Bailey

Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.

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