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Types of Transfer Benches

Physical disabilities can sometimes limit a patient´s capability to move in such a way that it becomes very difficult for him/her to go take a shower or bath independently. In this context, a resource called transfer bench can be used. A transfer bench is a device that allows a patient to sit on and progressively slide to get to the inside of a tub or shower.

Transfer benches come in two formats:

1)    Non-Sliding Transfer Benches

Non-sliding type transfer benches usually have short and long joint seats and four legs. When used, two legs of the bench will be outside of the tub whereas the other two legs will be placed on the inside. These latter legs could sometimes secure the transfer bench to the bathtub with plunges to ensure steadiness.

To get into a tub, a patient first remains seated on the outside part of the transfer bench and then he/she gradually slips from the outside to the inside of the tub. This type of benches are commercially available in many shapes and have a set of attachments (add-up parts) that makes them very versatile and able to suit specific patient´s requirements.

2)    Rolling and/or Sliding Transfer Benches

In this type of bench, the patient is seated on one of the bench sides and is slowly displaced with the aid of tracks or slippery platforms. Some include adaptations that work in combination with commercially available mobile aids. Others can be directly connected to a tub. These benches allow patients to move towards a tub when mobility is more compromised.

A new commercial design integrates three sets of tracks to allow patient´s displacement from a mobile resource such as a wheelchair. The first track is part of the mobile device, the second track is held in the tub in a manner similar to non-sliding benches and the third connects with the other two to facilitate movement. In order to use this type of bench several steps must be taken:

  • Position the sliding transfer bench in the tub and secure it safely.
  • Align connecting tracks with bench´s tracks and firmly attach them.
  • Help patient sit on the bench.
  • Align and join the tracks with the connecting tracks.
  • After firmly connecting the three sets of tracks, the patient is moved from his/her mobile resource, across the connecting tracks and into the tub.
  • Disconnect connecting tracks and move them away from the transfer bench to be able to perform patient´s bathing. The patient seats on the transfer bench to be bathed.
  • Once bathing is finished, tracks and the mobile device are reconnected and the patient is moved away from the transfer bench to his/her mobile resource.
  • After ending the process, all devices should be kept in secure sites for future use.

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