Step 1 - Setting Up
- As with any transfer, the environment must be set up properly beforehand.
- Be sure to remove any potential tripping hazards and make sure the transfer bench is dry, level, and has no rough edges that could injure the individual’s skin.
- Prior to the transfer, the individual will need to be undressed and given a robe to promote independence, dignity, and autonomy. We also recommend non-skid slippers for a better grip.
Step 2 - Transferring onto the Bathtub Transfer Bench
- Position the wheelchair next to the bathtub transfer bench. Make sure to stabilize and/or lock the device. When transferring from a wheelchair be sure to remove armrests, footrests, and safety restraints prior to the transfer if needed.
- Assist the individual forward in their seat or have the individual scoot forward in their seat. Ensure the feet are in firm contact with the floor.
- Secure a transfer belt onto the individual over their robe.
- Place your hands on each side of the gait belt to help guide the movement.
- Have the individual lean forward over their feet.
- Work together and count to coordinate your movements.
- Be sure the individual clears the wheels or other parts of the wheelchair.
- Provide as much assistance as needed to the individual. Have the individual pay close attention to their movements and the location of their body parts as they transfer onto the bench.
Step 3 - Leg Swing into the Tub & Moving Down the Bench
- Once the individual is safely seated onto the edge of the transfer bench, raise their legs over the bathtub threshold and pivot them onto the bench inside the tub. If needed, the individual should use their opposite hand to hold a nearby safety bar or rail.
- Have the individual scoot sideways down the bench.
If the individual is unable to move down the bench you may want to use a sliding transfer bench. A sliding transfer bench is a bench seat that slides from side to side across the bathtub threshold.
Step 4 - Transfer out of the Bathtub
- After the individual is dried off, assist them with placing their robe back on if needed before the transfer out of the tub.
- Apply the transfer belt over the robe.
- Repeat the transfer steps above in reverse order with the individual reaching for the furthest armrest on the wheelchair
- Lotions should be applied after the individual is transferred out of the bathtub.
When Using a Bathtub Transfer Bench
Step 1 - Setting Up
- Start the bath after the individual is comfortably and safely on the transfer bench inside the bathtub.
- Be aware if the nozzle is set to spray at the individual.
- Use an ungloved hand to test the water temperature. You will want to use warm water below 102ºF. Water temperature over 102 degrees can be too hot for the elderly and those with cardiovascular problems.
- If the individual is able to bathe themselves, allow them privacy. Stay close by, in case help is needed.
Step 2 - Bathing
- If the individual is unable to bathe themselves, start care by putting on gloves.
- Use a handheld shower hose with a gentle spray. Consider aiming the water at the individual’s feet and legs first. This gives them time to get used to the water. Communicate with the individual, tell them the steps you are taking, move slowly and gently.
- Encourage the individual to assist in washing themselves. If the individual requires assistance in washing themselves, be gentle and detailed.
- To wash hair, have the individual tilt their head forward or back as able to wet and rinse hair. You can also provide a washcloth to cover their eyes if they desire.
- Wash the private area last and use a new washcloth. It’s important that an individual’s private areas are washed – not only for overall hygiene but to also reduce the risk of infection. Be sure to communicate with the individual throughout the process and ask for permission to wash their private area.
- Once the individual is cleaned and rinsed off, turn off and drain the water.
- Dry the individual with a towel while they are on the transfer bench. Drying them off before the transfer out of the tub helps remove any potential risk of slipping.