This article focuses on assisting persons who are having difficulty with bathing transfers due to weakness. Emphasis will be on the use of a transfer bench.
A transfer bench is an elongated shower seat that straddles the tub threshold providing assistance for a person having difficulty with bathing transfers due to weakness, impaired balance, and endurance.
To set up the transfer bench, inspect it for stability and proper functioning, inspect the height adjustment buttons, rubber feet condition, screw tightness and make sure the seat and backrest are void of sharp or rough edges.
Place the transfer bench into the tub stall with two legs inside the stall and the other two legs outside.
Adjust the transfer bench for proper height and level adjusting each leg individually to accommodate the convex nature of the tub.
When seated a person’s hips should be slightly above their knees, the handle on the bench must be along the inside wall and the transfer bench should be placed back towards the rear wall. So a seated person will have sufficient legroom to complete the transfer comfortably.
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If the person being assisted is able to stand, position the wheelchair parallel to the tub just behind the transfer, bend the front corner of the wheelchair and the rear corner of the bench should be touching, allowing room for them to stand and turn. Lock the wheelchair brakes and swivel the front wheels out of the way to the rear-facing position.
Provide assistance for them to stand to position themselves with the back of both of their legs touching the transfer bend. The wheelchair armrests can be used as a handheld to assist with sitting. Provide assistance to reach towards the bench with at least one hand, then slowly sit down.
If they are unable to stand, instruct them to reach towards the transfer bench with their hand closest to the tub palm down on the seat.
The other hand remains on the wheelchair. Armrests provide instruction and assistance for them to carefully lift their body and scoot from the wheelchair seat on to the transfer bench seat.
This may take a few attempts and their legs should still be outside the tub wall scooting
Provide cues to reposition and utilize the bench handle as needed for balance and mobility. Once they are securely seated on the transfer bench, carefully remove the wheelchair. Provide assistance to raise and lower their leg closest to the tub.
provide assistance for them to raise and lower their other leg into the tub
provide assistance to continue to scoot along the transfer bench until seated as close to the far wall as comfortable.
We must be very cautious about bathing transfers and you should follow the above steps for safety.