What is a Transfer Bench and What are Its Benefits?

There are many tools and devices that can help caregivers look after and take care of elderly patients or people with disabilities and special needs, and one of the most popular devices designed to provide assistance is the transfer bench. To know more about this specific device, here is some information about transfer beds and their benefits.

What is a Transfer Bench?

transfer bench

A transfer bed is a device that is used to transfer the elderly or a person with special needs from one area to another, particularly inside the bathroom. For example, the transfer bench is useful whenever a caregiver wants to move the elderly inside a bathtub. To do so, the caregiver would first have to set two legs of the transfer bench out of the bathtub while the other two legs will be inside the bathtub. Then, the elderly will be able to sit on the transfer bench from outside the bathtub and then scoot over to the other side to get into the bathtub.

Although transfer benches are primarily used on bathtubs, they can also be utilized to provide seats for the elderly in areas of the bathroom that can be quite slippery, like on the shower or the toilet.

What are the Different Types of Transfer Benches?

senior woman using a transfer bench

Transfer benches are available in different types that have their own set of pros and cons. Here are descriptions of these different types of transfer benches so that you can learn more about each of them.

Non-Sliding Bench

The most basic type of transfer bench is the non-sliding bench, which has a solid seat made of plastic and that has four legs that have rubber tips for grip even on slippery floors. In order to use the non-sliding transfer bench, the senior or patient would need to slide or scoot over from one side to the other in order to get to a bathtub or in different areas of the bathroom to avoid slipping.

The downside to using non-sliding benches is that the elderly person would need to exert a little bit of effort to move on the transfer bench. However, they can still be assisted by the caregiver by helping them slide to the other side of the bench.

Sliding Bench

The sliding bench features a seat that slides from right to left and vice versa. Because of the sliding seat, the elderly person or patient doesn’t have to use their legs anymore to slide from one side of the bench to the other. In order to prevent the elderly from slipping off of the sliding seat, there would be a seat belt installed on the sliding seat that straps onto the thighs of the senior or patient.

There would also be some sliding benches that have pivoting armrests that prevent patients from falling off to the sides while also providing areas where the patients can rest their arms. The drawback to sliding benches is that they are pricier than non-sliding benches, but once you have tried out a sliding bench, you will see that its price is worth it because of how convenient and safe it is to use. A sliding bench is also useful for transferring seniors to and from the car. But if you are looking for more recommendations, you may also check out our list of Useful Car Aids for Seniors.

Fixed Bench

The fixed bench has legs that are already bolted on the floor and on the bathtub. So, the fixed bench doesn’t move at all, unlike the other two types that have legs with rubber tips that can still move whenever you lift, push, or pull them. The fixed bench can have a non-sliding seat or a sliding seat, so it can have the best features of the other two types but in a fixed format.

Of course, the con of the fixed bench is that you cannot move it in other areas of the bathroom, so you and the patient can only use it in the area where it is installed. In addition, you may also need assistance with installing the fixed bench on the bathroom floor and bathtub. If the patient doesn’t need a transfer bench in other areas besides the bathtub, then the fixed bench is a great option since its legs are more secure and stable.

What are the Benefits of Transfer Benches?

transfer bench with adjustable legs

Transfer benches have two main benefits, and if you have read through the first half of this article, then you will most likely already have an idea of what those benefits are. But, to go into more detail about those benefits, this section of the article is dedicated to the uses of transfer benches for the elderly and people with special needs. Here are the benefits of using transfer benches.

Easy and Comfortable Transfer to the Bathtub

The main benefit of the transfer bench is that it enables the elderly or a patient to easily and comfortably get into the bathtub without the need to put pressure on the legs just to go over the sides of the tub. With the assistance of a caregiver, the elderly can safely get into the bathtub by sliding on the transfer bench while the caregiver lifts the patient’s legs up.

Can Provide a Secure Seat While Taking a Bath

In addition to providing a safe and easy transfer for the elderly from the bathroom floor to the bathtub, the transfer bench can also be used as a secure seat while the senior patient is taking a bath. Standing while taking a bath or having a shower can cause leg and foot pain for the elderly, and sitting in the bathtub can also make it difficult for them to stand up once they are finished bathing.

So, the best way for them to stay comfortable in the bathtub is to sit on a comfortable seat provided by the transfer bench, which enables them to rest their legs and has an easier time getting out of the bathtub later.

The transfer bench is arguably one of the most useful devices for assisting the elderly and patients with special needs. There are plenty of transfer benches that caregivers can buy today in online shops and specialty stores, but some of the best benches have great reviews and feedback from previous customers and experienced reviewers of mobility aids and other tools or devices for the elderly. So, be sure to check out reviews online before making a purchase to ensure that you will buy the best transfer bench.

If you also want to keep your elderly loved ones safe and comfortable when they are using the toilet, installing a raised toilet seat can be beneficial. Learn more about this by reading our article about raised toilet seats and their benefits.