Standards in Patient Lateral Transfers

SMART Rollboard

Performing patient lateral transfers may be one of the most overlooked and underrated activities performed by healthcare professionals.

The standardization of lateral transfers varies greatly throughout Canada’s health regions; and in many cases, the standard is dependent on the product that is mainly used by the healthcare facility.

While the validity of the superiority of each product is up for debate, especially when combined with bulk contract buying, product training and uniformity, the one common theme is best practices are negatively impacted.

In addition, if a hospital carries the same product today that they used 10 or 15 years ago, there is a good chance that the technology is out of date, as well as the methods used.

Did you know that there are more nursing related injuries than in the construction industry?

2014 injury statistics for Lateral Transfers


Every day in Canadian hospitals, healthcare professionals are being put at risk of injury. There are many factors, but a few are listed below:

  • Since 2010, there has been a steady annual increase in the percentage of bariatric patients
  • Fewer staff on hand to perform manual transfers
  • Due to wait times, hospital staff feel pressured to turnover rooms faster using less comprehensive methods

The one constant that remains is that the hospital staff need to transfer patients, as a matter of process.

The variables lie in the product that they use, and consequently the methods that the particular product requires.

Statistics from Sunrise Health Region in Saskatchewan, SK for incidents that occurred in lost time:

Statistics from Sunrise Health Region in Saskatchewan, SK for incidents that occurred in lost time











From a 2013 independent lateral transfer data report, several products and methods were tested. These include:

  • Incontinent pad/draw sheet
  • Incontinent pad over slide board
  • Samarit Transfer Board
  • Slide Board
  • Friction reducing sheet
  • Air Assisted lateral transfer board

The report tested for four different categories. Here are the findings:


  • Task Duration did not include set up time – only the time it actually took to perform the maneuver
  • ADT =  anthropomorphic test dummy
  • 50th %tile = approximately 171.3 lbs; 95th %tile = approximately 223 lbs.
  • A female who was approximately 5’4” tall and 167 lbs. in weight represented the caregiver.

Resultant Peak Force at low back using a 50th %tile ADT

DeviceTask Duration (seconds)Peak Force (Resultant) NewtonsRank
Air Assisted5.28543.731
Samarit Rollbord5.43551.092
Friction reducing sheet5.38568.003
Slide board6.03572.404
Incontinent pad over slide board5.63613.165
Incontinent Pad/draw sheet9.21703.356


Resultant Peak Force at the shoulder using a 50th %tile ADT

DeviceTask Duration (seconds)Peak Force (Resultant) NewtonsRank
Samarit Rollbord5.43154.101
Air Assisted5.28177.202
Slide board6.03180.033
Friction reducing sheet5.38183.584
Incontinent pad over slide board5.63189.045
Incontinent Pad/draw sheet9.21259.226


Resultant Peak Force at low back using a 95th %tile ADT

DeviceTask Duration (seconds)Peak Force (Resultant) NewtonsRank
Samarit Rollbord5.43604.631
Air Assisted5.28615.122
Slide board6.03618.853
Incontinent pad over slide board5.63623.834
Friction reducing sheet5.38674.875
Incontinent Pad/draw sheet9.21724.766


Resultant Peak Force at the shoulder using a 95th %tile ADT

DeviceTask Duration (seconds)Peak Force (Resultant) NewtonsRank
Samarit Rollbord5.43199.091
Slide board6.03208.682
Incontinent pad over slide board5.63208.873
Air Assisted5.28218.904
Friction reducing sheet5.38247.255
Incontinent Pad/draw sheet9.21284.986


Samarit Peak Force


In the aforementioned independent study, Samarit transfer boards consistently finished with a high ranking.

This is mainly due to its simplicity and functionality.

While the time it took to complete a maneuver amongst the different devices was within a few seconds, the noticeable result was in the force required.

The success of the Samarit lateral transfer board is partly due to its patented design.

It has a firm board covered by a tube that rolls easily, thus moving the patient.

The benefit of this is that the board offers a firm support surface for the patient during the transfer and the tubular design offers the ability to easily move the patient from one surface to another with a reduction in frictional force.

Other Considerations:

Three very important considerations when performing lateral transfers are number of healthcare workers, size and weight ratio of patient to staff, and time.

By utilizing the proper lateral transfer equipment, less staff is needed; the ratio of size and weight of patient to staff is minimized; the risk of injury decreases; and, the time it takes to perform the lateral transfer is cut down considerably.

Hospital staff require lateral transfer products that include the following features and benefits:

  • Easy and fast to set up
  • Readily available (easy storage)
  • Minimal instruction
  • Least push/pull force required
  • Easy to clean
  • Several types available due to the patient variations in size, bed surfaces, contour and height

Watch a short video on how easy it is to use a Samarit transfer board

Interested In Buying A Samarit Transfer Board For Your Facility? See If You Qualify For A Demo By Filling Out The Form Below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *