ALVO Transpa

Perioperative patient transfer – challenges in safe patient handling

15 February 2023

According to different medical research sources, even up to 40% of health cases amongst nurses are spine and muscle complaints, being a result of manual patient handling. Caregivers incur occupational diseases including musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries much more often than professionals in any other profession.

Work-related injuries amongst nursing staff

Studies show that 56% of nurses have experienced MSK pain that was caused by or worsened at work and 80% of them continued to work despite suffering from this disorder1. High prevalence of musculoskeletal-related health problems, especially chronic low back pain, increases the costs of treatment, loss of working days and the turn-over rate among nurses2.

Nurses may lose an average of 35,800 workdays each year as a result of musculoskeletal injury3. This means, that probably a vital number of nurses who manually transfer patients in the OR will be forced to leave their profession due to spondylosis and chronic pain in the spine. Hospital Managers, in order not to lose their personnel, and to recruit new employees, have to accept one fact: safe manual lifting of the patient simply does not exist. Manual patient handling is dangerous for both OR personnel and the patient.

Hospitals and healthcare providers are constantly challenged to increase operational efficiency, achieve better clinical outcomes, with limited legal claims from patients. They are also conscious of the present and future health hazards that might affect their already limited in number surgical teams. OR managers and head OR nurses would, therefore, search for technical solutions which may decrease the physical and mental burden of their personnel. Another reason for investing in proper technology is the rising awareness of increased safety in the OR, eliminating epidemiological risks, decubitus, and mechanical injuries.

Patient transfer methods include:

  • Built-in solutions, integrated within the hospital infrastructure – have to be planned at the early stage of a hospital planning.
  • Mobile solutions, independent of the operating theatre’s architecture, that can be introduced and used any time.

The very basic manual method of patient transfer is by using a conventional sheet. The standard procedure is to lift the sheet and move the patient onto another surface. It is the most available solution but it is not as trouble-free and cost-effective as it seems to be. Transferring the patient in the mentioned way may result in personnel’s health problems. What is more, the patient’s body changes position a few times during the transfer, which can result in additional injuries.

Another method is the manual transfer with slide sheets. To use this method the personnel have to roll the patient by placing the slide sheets together, flat on the bed. Then, reposition the patient holding by the upper sheet. The patient handling still requires physical strength of the caregivers, as well as adequate techniques. Also, this method has limited application for the transfer between two surfaces. It is rather used for repositioning than perioperative transfer in an operating theater (from the operating table top to the transporter or bed, for instance).

The solution which can be applied for the transfer between different surfaces is a transfer board, nevertheless, this one has limited load capacity and the uncomfortable bent body position of the caregivers is not eliminated. Still, it requires a coordinated effort of the team.

More ergonomic devices are roller boards and air transfer systems. Both dedicated to transferring patients between two different surfaces. The roller board is a more economical solution. On the other hand, it is more difficult to disinfect. Also, rollerboards usually are reported to cause unpleasant feeling for the transferred patient. They would not be the best option for transferring patients whose weight exceeds 160 kg either. The air transfer system has a much better load capacity and can be used for heavy patients with weight up to 500 kg. Despite their advantages, air transfer systems are still much more expensive than roller boards.

When planning a new operating theater or a general modernization of existing one, having a fixed patient transfer unit is often considered. Its major advantages are:

  • no lifting of the patient is needed while transferring between different surfaces
  • a more “human” handling, increased patient’s safety
  • nurses work effectively without using excessive energy and without hyper-extending muscles and joints
  • clean and dirty areas of the operating theaters are separated

A disadvantage of a fixed patient transfer solution is that special infrastructure and space is needed. The transfer lasts longer in comparison to mobile solutions. And it also involves minimum two caregivers. From the financial point of view, fixed patient transfer units require an additional budget at the stage of investment as well as for further maintenance costs.

Mobile patient transfer solution

A mid-way solution, which eliminates patient lifting but does not require interference in the operating theatre’s architecture, is a mobile transfer unit ALVO Transpa. Its mobile construction allows using it anywhere around a hospital, especially in places where installing a fixed patient transfer unit is impossible. The only prerequisite is having enough space to maneuver the trolley, but not more than for a conventional hospital bed is required.

The mobile patient transfer solution ALVO Transpa is based on a trolley, with a rolling belt to smoothly move patients by sliding them to and from an operating table or a hospital bed. The rolling belt can be easily disinfected. The system can be operated by one person, as it is supported by electric engine. Another staff member is there to only secure the head and the limbs of the patient.

1. American Nurses Association Backgrounder, 2011 ANA Health & Safety Survey: Hazards of the RN work environment.
2.Effects of patient-handling and individual factors on the prevalence of low back pain among nursing personnel. Research Article: Samaei, Seyed Ehsana; b | Mostafaee, Maryamc | Jafarpoor, Hasanalia | Hosseinabadi, Majid Bagherid,  Journal: Work, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 551-561, 2017
3.Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industry Injury and Illness Data (2007). Accessed October 15, 2013

Strona, na którą wchodzisz, zawiera treści dotyczące wyrobów medycznych, przeznaczone wyłącznie dla profesjonalistów zajmujących się ich używaniem lub obrotem. Kliknij OK, aby potwierdzić, że jesteś specjalistą/ką z branży ochrony zdrowia. The website you are entering contains content related to medical devices intended solely for professionals involved in their use or trade. Please click OK to confirm you are a healthcare professional.