Biomechanical Evaluations of Bed-to-Wheelchair Transfer: Gait Belt Versus Walking Belt

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Abstract

Nursing personnel, particularly caregivers who frequently perform manual patient transfer tasks, are at risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). The purpose of this study was to perform biomechanical evaluations of bed-to-wheelchair transfer using two low-cost assistive devices: walking belt and gait belt. Twenty-eight college students, serving as caregivers, transferred 14 students, serving as patients. “Caregiver” spinal loading and strength requirements at major joints were measured using a 3D Static Strength Prediction Model. “Caregiver”-perceived stresses were assessed using the Borg CR-10 Scale. “Patient” safety and comfort ratings were determined using Likert-type scales. The findings indicated that transferring “patients” using walking belts with a pulling technique produced significantly lower biomechanical stress than using gait belts. “Patients” also felt more comfortable and safer during walking belt transfers. It is recommended that health care facilities should consider use of walking belts in place of gait belts to transfer partially weight-bearing patients.

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