Slide Board Transfer Tips & Tricks

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 using a beasy board
  • Length of slide board: longer boards are generally more useful for car transfers
  • Material of board: for infection control (plastic is better than wood, the small pores in foam increases infection risk)
  • Hole cut out increases risk for finger crush injuries
  • Integrity of board (old, warped, or splinters)
  • 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 or falling forward during the transfer
  • Ensure the slideboard does not move during the transfer, assist in stabilizing the slideboard if necessary
  • Check the weight capacity of board, especially if using a longer board


  • Use Dycem under the slide board to increase friction, e.g. transferring onto a plastic commode.
  • Wrap a chux pad around the slide board to prevent skin from sticking to the slide board.
  • Patient does not need to perform large scoots, small “mini” scoots are fine — assist in each scoot as needed.
  • If transferring from a bed, elevate the bed slightly to a downhill slope on the slideboard, but ensure the bed can go low enough to match the height from the other surface when transferring back.
  • Clean and wipe down any surfaces that were used.