The slide board can be a very useful device for a wide range of patient populations. While typically used for paraplegia or wheelchair dependent patients, I have seen them used for orthopedics with non-weightbearing precautions, generalized weakness, encephalopathy, and more.


  • Sliding uses a shearing force, take caution in patients with pressure sores; consider a beasy board
  • Length of slide board: longer generally more useful for car transfers
  • Material of board: for infection control (wood, existence of foam)
  • Hole cut out (risk for finger crush injuries)
  • Integrity of board (old, warped, splinters risk)
  • Friction between board and surface it is resting on
  • Getting to destination surface AND BACK: plan ahead, the patient will likely have to transfer back from destination surface back to origin at a later point
  • Levelness of board: sliding up hill can be very challenging and may pose a fall risk either falling downhill or overcompensating and falling uphill; position board as “flat” as possible
  • Have an extra hand for assistance if patient has poor sitting balance
  • Patient will need to be able to laterally weight shift to place the board under one of their buttocks.
  • Ensure transfer origin and destination devices are locked and do not move during transfer
  • If transferring to a commode, use a drop-arm commode
  • Block patient from sliding forward during transfer
  • Ensure the slideboard does not move during the transfer, assist in stabilizing the slideboard if necessary
  • Check weight capacity of board, especially if using a longer board


  • Use Dycem under the slide board to reduce friction, e.g. transferring onto a plastic commode
  • Wrap a chux pad around the slide board to prevent skin from sticking to wooden slide boards
  • Patient does not need to perform large scoots, small “mini” scoots are fine
  • If transferring from a bed, elevated the bed slightly to downhill slope on the slideboard, but ensure the bed can go low enough to match the height from the other surface when transferring back
Jeff is the lead writer for and covers all things Occupational Therapy. Buy me a Bubble Tea: Venmo @otdude