Friday, 2 November 2012

Using a curved transfer board

Bridge with curved transfer board

I have been using a curved transfer board (aka banana board) provided to me in the hospital when I was getting ready for returning home. My stay in hospital had lasted 15 weeks. I have had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for more than 36 years and it has slowly but surely settled into Secondary Progressive MS. Before my 2008 stay in hospital, I was able to transfer from seat to seat with ease by myself. I was able to walk a few steps, a few times a day using crutches. At the time of my hospital discharge, on 3rd June 2008, I was not able to stand within the time it had been expected to make a recovery. In order to be able to return home, my only option was using a curved sliding board for transfers because of the wheel of my self-propelling wheelchair. 

Pinching the looped sliding sheet under the
upside down curved board
I had to be trained to use the curved sliding board with assistance using a looped sliding sheet slightly pinched under the board by just one inch or two centimetres under the board. I need to position the wheelchair at an angle less than 90 degrees between the chair and the bed so the transfer is short. The bed is close. The curve of the board fits around the wheel. It is flat AND I feel safe! 

Place pinched sheet and curved
board under thigh, lifting oneself
helps assistant when leaning on
wheelchair wheel with hand...

If I am transferring from wheelchair to another, I think it works better with the two seats placed at an angle of 90 degrees so both sets of wheels are in the inner curve AND the board is flat! 

Placing hand on board where one is
aiming to go help propelling....       
Placing my hand on the board where I wish my bottom to be at the end of the transfer. I bend slightly forward and with feet on the ground I step sideways to the desired position. When the end with the pinched sliding sheet is visible I usually ask my assistant to release it. The joke is to say “give me some gas”. Gaining a bit of speed provided by the looped sliding sheet I arrive safely without overtiring. My clothes and the floor are not covered in talcum powder that is used often instead of the looped sliding sheet. This is useful when a care assistant is timed by Social Services and Care Agencies to stay half an hour! I find it astonishing that care assistants are not trained using this method of transfer. 

It is difficult as a person receiving the service to show the safest way for the assistant to place the board under between the thigh and the body contoured pressure seat cushion. I have been given amazing explanations…Some are adamant that the board should be used by me on my own! Some ignore the curve…some place the curved board upside down…showing the pads that are supposed to be underneath for the board to remain secure under the person using it! I wish I could meet the persons giving handling instructions, as some declare after returning from handling course that board are not used any more (gulp!)! 

I wonder where I would be without my curved transfer board! Multiple Sclerosis fatigue has its ways of weighing down my shoulders and instead of standing and turning fraom seat to seat when holding firmly to a vertical bar. I happens by 12 noon or when a foot infection starts to scupper all my efforts to improve my mobility.