Low Pivot Transfers

Save the back! Make the day!

Low pivot  transfers in home health physical therapy can keep patient and caregiver safe Low pivot transfers can truly save the day. Typically, a transfer from a wheelchair to the bed or visa versa requires a gait belt, and the goal of standing the patient all the way up, turning them and sitting them down.

This transfer can be very difficult depending on abilities or disabilities. Sometimes the caregiver is too weak to offer the amount of lift needed. Other times, the patient is too weak to put adequate weight through his/her legs to stand up tall. Sometimes it's just a combination of both! The low pivot transfer technique can take advantage of the way the body is built using leverage and a simple 'butt swing' to make the day and land the transfer!


This transfer suggests that instead of standing the patient all the way up, you help them stand just enough to clear their bottom of the wheelchair arm, wheelchair wheel, or simply high enough to scoot off the surface they are seated on. This means that the patient stays in somewhat of a squatting/bent knee position. Bent knees can be a disaster for the caregiver helping with transfer. Because of this, as a caregiver, use your knees/legs to block the patients knees from bending any further forward resulting in a crumple on the floor. Once, blocked, proceed with the transfer.

With the use of a gait belt, you can almost use the patients bottom as a steering wheeling...swinging it towards the end goal and then allowing the patient to sit once it's ready to land in the right spot. I tell my patients to point their butt where we are going...this elicits some help from them.

I'll have some video on this later but wanted to take a stab at explaining it.


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