The Evaluation of Mechanical Devices for Lateral Transfers on Perceived Exertion and Patient Comfort

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PURPOSEThe purpose of this study was to compare the perceived physical stress felt by subjects (nursing and other hospital personnel), time spent, number of personnel required, and patient comfort using various methods to transfer patients laterally in the supine position.DESIGNDescriptive comparative design.SAMPLEOne hundred ninety-two transfer ratings (132 using manual methods and 60 using a mechanical device) were compared. Thirty-two transfers (18 manual and 14 mechanical device) were timed, and 39 patients (12 having manual transfer and 27 with a mechanical device) provided comfort ratings.FINDINGSPerceived exertion was significantly less for subjects performing lateral transfers with a mechanical device than with manual methods. Fewer personnel were needed for transfers with mechanical devices. Approximately 5 minutes less per transfer was needed when using mechanical devices, and patients felt significantly more comfortable and secure when a mechanical transfer device was used.DISCUSSIONThe use of a mechanical device for transfer provided lower exertion ratings, used less personnel and time, and was more comfortable for patients. There are barriers to use, however, because of resistance to change, perceived increase in time needed for transfer, and the limitation of storing and retrieving the devices. Provision of equipment does not ensure use; institution of teaching and no-lift policies can facilitate use of lifting/transferring equipment.

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