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by: Miki Rossaniss, Head of Clinical Development

Want to retain your caregivers and keep them healthy? Set them up for success. This week’s tip focuses on the three things to keep in mind when transferring clients.

Transferring Clients: 

An area of difficulty that is commonly detected by Sensi is around helping a client with movement. This can be picked up as a client or caregivers displaying difficulty or physical distress during transfers. Whether it be in and around bed or getting on and off furniture in the home. 


Moving a person using the wrong technique or equipment can place the person and the caregiver at a high risk of injury and is a leading cause of sick days amongst caregivers. 


Research has shown that the correct training, guidance and tips to staff for the transferring of clients has a direct impact on both a clients and caregivers health and well being. When approaching transferring a client there are 3 things to take into account for guaranteed success: 

The client’s ability, the environment and the task.

1. The Client’s Ability 

  • Before assisting a client to move or transfer, always check on their ability to assist with the transfer and how much physical effort they are able to contribute to the task. If they are needing the majority of the physical help from another person this is where equipment is necessary. 
  • Find out if the person has any complex movement disorders like spasticity or spasms that can make movement a lot more difficult for them (and you). 
  • Consider if the person has any behavioral or cognitive challenges which may make movement more difficult. Break down the steps of the transfer that needs to be done so that they are aware of what is happening and why you are helping them. 
  • If the person suffers from pain, adjust the care around this by providing assistance with movement after pain medication has been taken.  

2. The Environment

  • Always think about the safety of the environment prior to transfers, in relation to the safety of the person helping with the transfer and the person who is being transferred. For example if moving someone in and around bed, the bed height should be accommodated to the need of the caregiver to avoid stooping. An adjustable bed should be used to easily move the height for different caregiver heights and for different tasks. 
  • There are many types of transfer equipment that can be and are highly encouraged to help with transfers. Whether it be gliding sheets, transfer belts, rails, turners or lifters. The correct equipment should be assessed by a manual handling expert so when difficulties are arising make sure to get the help required before injuries. 

3. The Task 

  • Always break down the transfer task to smaller steps. This helps the client to understand what is occurring but also helps to keep the movements safe. 
  • When moving from sitting to standing for example – guide the client to shuffle forward with their bottom on the seat or bed, keep their legs at hip width, lean forward, rock back and forth, count self into the stand, use arms to push up.
  • The caregiver assisting with the transfer task must always make sure to follow the principles of manual handling – maintain a good posture, keep feet apart for a firm base of support, always bend knees and not your back.