It’s a common misconception that people with mobility issues are incapable of performing basic life functions which results in their dependence on others.
With the help of mobility assistance and transfers, these people can regain their sense of independence and improve their quality of life.
In this article, we will explore the importance of mobility assistance and transfers, the different methods used for transfers and the essential tools and equipment needed to provide safe care.
What is mobility assistance and transfers?
Mobility assistance and transfers refer to the equipment and techniques used to help people with mobility impairments move around independently.
These tools and devices significantly improve mobility impaired people’s quality of life because with these, they can perform daily activities with ease and independence.
Mobility assistance devices
This mobility assistance device is used to transport people who have difficulty walking or standing for extended periods. It consists of a seat, footrests and four wheels that allow for easy movement.
Wheelchairs come in different types as well.
Manual wheelchair relies on your strength to maneuver the chair. There are different configurations of manual wheelchairs, such as:
- Standard manual: Most basic type
- Lightweight manual: Recommended for those who need to transport their wheelchairs easily
- Heavy-duty manual or bariatric wheelchairs: Designed for people who weigh over 300 pounds
Electric wheelchairs have different models based on use, size and weight capacity. Some are designed for indoor use only, while others can be used both inside and outside.
Many electric wheelchairs come with additional features for comfort and stability, such as:
- Reclining seats
- Elevating leg rests
- Adjustable armrests
For wheelchair users who lead an active lifestyle, sports wheelchairs are also available. These are typically lightweight and have a streamlined design to allow for maximum speed and maneuverability, which work best for sports like:
These mobility aids help people who require additional support in walking and maintaining balance. By using them, they increase safety, independence and mobility to people with physical limitations.
Different types of walkers include:
- Standard walkers: Has four legs and provide a stable base of support
- Rolling walkers: Has wheels that’s easy to maneuver
- Knee walkers: Has a padded cushion and a steering system to support people who have undergone lower leg surgery or those who can’t bear weight on their lower extremities
Made from wood, aluminum or carbon fiber, canes are a mobility assistance device that is often used to provide support and balance to people with difficulty walking.
Here are the different kinds of cane:
- Standard canes: Simple, single-pointed walking sticks for people who need minimal support and balance
- Quad canes: Have a base with four points for greater degree of stability and support
- Offset canes: Ergonomically designed with a curved handle to provide comfort for people with conditions that cause hand pain or stiffiness
Crutches are mobility devices primarily used by people who have injuries or disabilities that affect their ability to walk normally. They are designed to provide support and stability to those who need it, allowing them to move around with confidence and independence.
There are different types of crutches, which include:
- Underarm crutches: Placed underneath the armpit and provide support through the upper body
- Forearm crutches (Lofstrand crutches): Hheld by the hands and provide support through the forearm
- Platform crutches: Support the entire forearm and hand for maximum stability
To receive personalized recommendations, we recommend that you speak with a healthcare professional or physical therapist.
Using crutches can be tricky at first, so here are some tips to help you use it.
- Keep the arms and shoulders relaxed while using the crutches.
- Place the crutches under the armpits or hold the forearm at the appropriate level.
- Keep the crutches firmly on the ground for stability.
- Use the crutches to support the weight of the body while moving the unaffected leg forward.
These battery-powered seated devices have revolutionized the way people with disabilities move. Since mobility scooters are easy to move around, it’s become increasingly popular among those who need assistance with mobilities.
Mobility scooters come in a range of designs, including:
- 3-wheel scooters: For indoor use
- 4-wheel scooters: For uneven terrain
- Heavy-duty scooters: Designed to withstand heavy weight and outdoor travel
Types of transfers
The foundation of mobility assistance is transfers, which is how people move from one location to another. Transfers are classified into three types:
- Dependent transfers: When a person is entirely reliant on others to move
- Independent transfers: When a person can move independently without assistance
- Assisted transfers: When a person needs help to move but can participate actively in the process
These techniques use the safe and proper way of assisting people with mobility issues from one location to another. The choice of a transfer technique should be influenced by the mobility level of the individual, the weight and size of the person being transferred, and the equipment and staff available.
Common transfer techniques include:
- Stand-pivot transfer: Assists a person to stand on one foot while pivoting until they are facing the desired direction, then gradually helping them sit down on the new location
- Two-person lift: Two people lifting a person to the desired location
- Hoyer lift: Uses hydraulic power to lift a person and move them
- Sliding board transfer: Sliding a person from one location to another using a board
- Sit-to-stand transfer: Helping a person stand and sit down in the new location .
Frequently asked questions
What is mobility assistance?
Mobility assistance refers to devices and services that help individuals with disabilities, injuries, or limited mobility to move around and perform daily living activities. Examples include wheelchairs, walkers, transfer lifts, and mobility aides.
What is a transfer lift?
A transfer lift is a device that assists with transferring individuals with limited mobility from one location or surface to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair or to the floor.
For example: ceiling lifts, floor lifts, and standing lifts.
What is a mobility aide?
A mobility aide is a device that aids individuals with mobility difficulties in moving around and performing daily living activities. This includes canes, crutches, walkers and rollators.
What is a wheelchair?
A wheelchair is a mobility device designed to assist individuals with limited mobility to move around and perform daily living activities. They come in different types, including manual, electric, or power wheelchairs, and can be customized based on the individual’s needs and preferences.
Do I need a prescription to obtain mobility assistance devices?
It depends on the type of device and your insurance coverage. Some devices require a prescription from a healthcare provider, while others can be purchased directly from suppliers without a prescription.
Check with your insurance provider or healthcare provider to determine if a prescription is necessary.
Mobility assistance and transfers play vital roles in helping individuals with disabilities or injuries to move around independently.
As the demand for mobility devices and transfer systems increases, it’s expected that more solutions will be developed to cater to the unique mobility needs of individuals with disabilities, as well as the elderly population.