Lateral Transfer Data Report

December 11, 2004

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In three out of four categories, the AliMed Soft Rollboard required the least amount of force — as much as 15% less force than air-assisted devices.

Lateral Transfer Data Report

Principal Investigator: Andrea Baptiste, MA, OT, CIE

Co-Investigator: Kay Steadman, MA, OTR, CHSP

Executive Summary:


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants consistently ranked among the detailed occupations reporting the most cases of workplace injuries and illnesses during the 1995-2004 period. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants reported the third highest number of injuries and illnesses in 2004. Only truck drivers (heavy and tractor-trailer) and laborers and material movers (hand) had more cases. A healthcare patient was the leading source of injury among nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides, accounting for 59 percent of their injuries from 1995 to 2004. The most recent data available from 2010 BLS data showed the rate of injury in healthcare had risen 4% over 2009 data which specified 7.0%.

The event leading to injury:

Overexertion was the cause of more than half (53%) of work-related injuries and illnesses among nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides from 1995-2004. Most of the cases of overexertion among nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides resulted from lifting patients. Indeed, this group accounted for 65 percent of all such injuries that occurred during the 10-year period.

Reference: Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities among Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides, 1995-2004 by Anne B. Hoskins Bureau of Labor Statistics. The purpose of this analysis is to quantify the workload placed on the caregiver during a lateral transfer using the Rollboard and other types of lateral aids. Since lateral transfers are done at a high frequency and the healthcare patient is the leading source of injury, to better understand and try to minimize this exertion, a biomechanical evaluation was performed. This biomechanical assessment will also help us determine which device is easier on the caregiver’s low back and shoulder and which one causes more strain and stress during the lateral transfer.


A laboratory analysis was conducted to capture the dynamic biomechanical demands the caregiver experiences during laterally transferring a patient. The technology utilized can provide objective data of what is occurring at each joint of a human subject. The results 2 collected and reported remain objective due to the intent of the evaluation.

A subject was labeled and motion was tracked in real time, enabling us to look at forces and stresses on the low back. The evaluation was conducted in a laboratory setting using multiple cameras, two different weighted ADTs to represent the average weight and height of a fully dependent patient.

Data Analysis

  1. Provide biomechanical data at the low back and shoulder during a lateral transfer of an average and bariatric patient when using the Rollboard
  2. Compare the Rollboard with the following other lateral transfer devices: an incontinent pad/draw sheet (traditional method), a friction reducing device (FRD) sheet type, a slide board, an incontinent pad over slide board and an air assisted device.
  3. Calculate the biomechanical stresses on the lower back (L5/S1) and shoulder using a 50th and 95% tile anthropomorphic test dummy (ATD).
  4. Rank products in order of least to most physically stressful or demanding.


This project simulated a commonly performed nursing task in a controlled laboratory setting (a lateral transfer). This task involves the caregiver to logroll the patient to insert the product and then pull the patient over to another surface laterally. The design and testing protocol was set up with rest periods in order to avoid caregiver (subject) fatigue. Two different ADTs were utilized to represent the average weight and height of a fully dependent patient (50th percentile and 95th percentile). Each ADT was log rolled to place the lateral transfer device under it, and then the lateral transfer was performed. The lighter ADT weighed approximately 171.3 lbs., and represented the 50th percentile patient, while the other ADT weighed 223 lbs. and was representative of 95th percentile patient population. A female who was approximately 5’4” tall and 167 lbs. in weight represented the caregiver.

Assistive Devices:

The assistive devices used in this evaluation included two surfaces, two ADTs, the testing apparatus and the following lateral transfer devices:

  1. Incontinent pad/draw sheet-standard method (IC pad)
  2. Incontinent pad over slide board
  3. Friction Reducing sheet
  4. Slide board
  5. Rollboard
  6. Air-Assisted Lateral Transfer Device


The analysis focusing on the stresses affecting the low back and the shoulder while using the Rollboard in comparison to other lateral transfer devices proved interesting. Due to the nature of this task, lateral transfers are high risk due to the extended reach, pull force, log roll, weight of patient, and friction of sheets which all result in high forces. Caregivers are at risk of injury from high peak forces through various body segments. The area of concentration presented in the result section is the low back and the shoulder joint since there have been numerous low back and shoulder injuries reported as a result of this task. Our goal was to quantify these factors in an attempt to determine how much risk is involved while using each device. Peak force can be defined as the maximum force developed during a muscle action. Biomechanical data is as follows with the following products: Incontinent Pad, Incontinent pad over slide board, friction reducing sheet, slide board, Rollboard, and air assisted.

The following tables present peak resultant forces at the low back and shoulder using the 50th and 95th %tile ADT’s.

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