As a caregiver who works primarily with older adults in their homes, I help clients with a variety of tasks. My clients have health conditions that range from Parkinson’s disease to Alzheimer’s. Some are no longer able to walk independently or to move themselves from one chair to another.
I would like to learn more about safe transfer techniques for caregivers. I know safety is important for helping to prevent injuries to both my clients and myself. Since you have many years of caregiving experience, I’m hoping you can review proper transfer techniques for caregivers like me.
Transferring Techniques for Caregivers
You are correct that learning the best transfer techniques for caregivers to use helps protect you and your clients. For caregivers who work in the home, it is especially important to learn these techniques since a second pair of hands may not be available.
Here are a few standard body mechanics that can help caregivers with transferring a client:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place one foot a half-step in front of the other. This helps give you a sturdy base of support.
- Lift with your legs. Remember, back muscles are not your strongest muscles. Leg muscles tend to be much stronger.
- Stand close to the person you are trying to lift or move.
- Do not lift more than you feel you can comfortably handle.
- Consider getting a back-support belt to protect your back from injuries.
- Communicate with your client. Tell them what you need to do and try counting 1-2-3 out loud so they can work with you.
- Remember to turn your body instead of twisting it as that can lead to back injuries.
- If your client needs assistance getting out of bed, start by helping them to a seated position. It might be easiest to roll them to the side of the bed, and then to a seated position with their feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your knees and muscles flexible instead of stiff. This helps to prevent injuries.
- Do not have your client put their arms around your neck. This can cause neck injuries. When helping them to stand, place your arms around their waist, have them lean forward, and rock together to increase momentum.
One additional suggestion, to help you learn safe transfer techniques, is to ask a physical or occupational therapist for a demonstration. Both are experts at helping to safely lift and move patients.
I hope this information is helpful, Daniel, and I thank you for asking such an important question.