Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Vol. 38 No. 1, January/February 2001
Pages 135 – 140

Reduced push forces accompany device use during sliding transfers of seated subjects

Peter Grevelding, MSPT and Richard W. Bohannon, EdD, PT, NCS

University of Connecticut, School of Allied Health, Storrs, CT 06269; Institute of Outcomes Research, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT 06102



PURPOSE: Research verifying the ability of various devices to reduce the forces required for transfers is virtually nonexistent. Therefore, we compared the push forces required to move passive seated subjects across a horizontal surface when four different methods were employed. SUBJECTS: 10 men and 14 women (weight 49.1-96.8 kg) served as subjects. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Passive subjects were moved horizontally across a treatment table that had a vinyl-covered foam mat on top. They sat either directly on the mat or on a vinyl sliding board (Ross Easy Glide), on a fabric tube (Ross Mini-Slide), or on a fabric tube on top of a sliding board on top of the mat. Subjects were pushed horizontally by each of the two authors via a hand-held dynamometer that was placed over their greater trochanter. ANALYSES: To examine interrater reliability of push forces, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated for each transfer method using the two authors' measurements. Validity was confirmed using Pearson correlations to test the relationship between subjects' weights and the forces required to push them. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and pair-wise post hoc tests were used to compare the forces associated with the four methods. RESULTS: The ICCs for push forces ranged from 0.77 to 0.91 depending on the transfer method. The push forces associated with the four transfer methods (no device=200.7±40.8 N, sliding board=120.5±27.7 N, fabric tube=105.8±26.1 N, fabric tube and sliding board=84.2±13.4 N,) differed significantly (F=273.9, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that assistive devices can greatly reduce the forces required to move seated subjects horizontally. The sliding board and the fabric tube were most effective when used together. Such devices have the potential to make transfers easier for individuals performing seated transfers and to reduce the risk of injury among individuals assisting them.

Key words: assistive devices, back injury, dependent subjects, transfers.

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