A pivot transfer is a means of moving a person in a wheelchair from one surface to another, e.g., a car seat, bed or stationary chair. A standing pivot transfer is when the person being moved stands for a brief period of time. If the person to be moved is well enough, he may be able to perform the transfer himself. If he is not, a professional or a loved one can help. In order to perform the transfer quickly and safely, this task requires several important techniques.
In order to do a standing pivot transfer, it is important to ensure that the surface to which the person is to be transferred is safe. Always check to make sure that the surface is stable, i.e., solid and not on wheels (or on wheels that are locked). It is also important to make sure that the surface is firm so the person being transferred does not sink into it. Finally, it is best if the surface is at the same level or height as the level from which the person is transferring.
Lifting and Standing
Position the person to be moved so that his stronger side is closest to the surface he is moving to. Help the patient shift forward in the chair bit by bit until he is sitting near the edge of the wheelchair. Make sure his feet are planted firmly on the floor and his body weight is shifted forward. Have the patient place his hands and arms around the shoulders and elbows (not the neck) of the helper. Be sure the patient keeps his trunk straight. Rock back and forth to gain some momentum. When both the patient and the helper are ready, count “1, 2, 3” and lift/stand on “3.”
Once standing, both the patient and the helper should pivot their feet and shuffle in a circle so that the patient is closest to the transferring surface. Before pivoting, make sure the patient is standing, balanced and comfortable.
Slowly lower the patient onto the new surface. The patient can use his arm to lower himself down. Before letting go, be sure the patient is planted firmly on the surface and is comfortable supporting himself. If the surface is a chair, have the patient shift backward bit by bit. If the surface is a bed, provide the patient with some support as he lowers himself to a horizontal position.