Patient Transfer Safety



All clinicians will utilize safe and sound mechanisms for the transfer of patients. These methods will enhance patient safety and eliminate staff injury.

General Information:
1. There are 3 types of patient transfers:
2. Two things to be considered when transferring a patient:
  • Safety of the patient
  • Safety of the person
3. Have patient assist with transfer as much as possible.
4. Safety measures to take prior to the transfer:
  • Make sure that the wheelchair is locked
  • Move catheter and IV equipment out of the way
  • Untie patient restraints
  • Explain to the patient what you are going to do
  • Try to transfer the patient in the direction of the patient's stronger side
5. Use over-bed trapeze, if applicable, so that the patient can assist with the transfer.

1. Maximum Assist Transfer using a Tilt Table or Stretcher - requires at least two people
  • use a draw sheet if possible
  • lock the bed and be sure that the stretcher or table does not move
  • have the patient assist as much as he/she is able, for example, lift head up or keep arms across chest
  • have the unit that the patient is transferring to, slightly lower than the unit that the patient is being transferred from
  • lift under the heaviest part of the body-shoulders and hips
  • roll the draw sheet up on either side to grasp-to ensure a firm hold. 
  • minimize the distance that you will have to move the patient by arranging the bed and the chair as close together as possible
  • when moving from bed to the chair, raise the bed so that it is higher than the chair. 
  • cross the patient's arms in front of their body, the person lifting reaches under the arms from behind and grasps the patient's forearms. 
  • The second person participating in the transfer lifts under the patient's thighs or under the calves (Lift with the arm and leg muscles, not the back muscles)
  • Use the countdown system to coordinate the lift. 
2. Maximum Assist transfer from Bed to Chair or Chair to Bed
  • Position the chair and bed at a 45-degree angle
  • Assist the patient to move to the edge of the bed
  • Move the patient's legs over the edge of the bed while simultaneously raising the torso
  • Stand directly in front of the patient and place your knee between theirs
  • Grasp the patient firmly and ease their feet to the floor. Pivot them toward the chair and sit them carefully.