Transfer Discs For Elderly

We profile the best transfer discs for the elderly in this article. If you are in a hurry, have a look at the snapshot below, or you can scroll to the detailed reviews below.

Last update 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is a Transfer Disc/Pivot Disc?

A transfer disc or pivot disc as it is also known as a transfer aid device meant for people who can bear their weight on at least one leg, but find it difficult to rotate their bodies due to old age, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or other diseases, accident, injury or another reason.

Transfer aid devices are used to transfer patients from bed to wheelchair, sofa or any other seating position and vice versa. Their primary purpose is to help rotate the patient’s body to move them into a position in which they can sit on the other object.

How Do I Use a Pivot Transfer Disc?

Pivot transfer discs can be used in different circumstances, and each circumstance requires a slightly different approach, depending on the level of mobility of the patient and their final destination.

Assisting persons with limited mobility who cannot lift themselves

Place the pivot disc underneath the patient’s leg and the wheelchair in parallel with the bed. Using a gait belt or a transfer vest, lift the person to a standing position by placing their legs on the pivot disc.

Rotate the disc to face the patient in the same direction as the wheelchair, and then gently place them on the wheelchair, again using the gait belt/transfer vest. After the move, the transfer disc should be immediately removed from the floor to prevent accidents.

Assisting a person with one injured leg to move to a wheelchair

Firstly, ensure that the patient is wearing appropriate footwear to be able to maintain a  good grip on the transfer disc. Place the disc on the floor under the injured leg and help the patient to stand.

Next, ask them to step towards the wheelchair using their good leg, with that leg facing the wheelchair. As the patient turns towards the wheelchair, the swivel disc will pivot their foot, helping the patient to be well-positioned in front of the chair before sitting down. After the move, the transfer disc should be immediately removed from the floor to prevent accidents.

Here we have a video that shows a good demonstration of how to use a pivot transfer disc.

Pivot disc transfer

What to Look For in a Good Transfer Pivot?

  • Grip: Transfer base and swivel components should both have a good gripping surface so that neither the disc slips when standing on it nor does the patient slip off the disc
  • Swivel speed: The swivel should be able to move smoothly on the base, but not rapidly. If the swivel were to move too fast, it might cause the patient to lose grip and fall/injure themselves.
  • Adhesive strip: In some cases, a special strip of adhesive material or additional gripping mechanism is built into the turntable, which provides extra traction 
  • Handle: Some pivot discs have a built-in handle to pick up and carry them easily.
  • Lightweight: The device should be lightweight but stable. It should be easily portable since it may need to be used in multiple places.
  • Weight capacity: Each transfer disc comes with a specification for weight-bearing capacity. Always look for one that can take a comfortably higher weight than the patient.
  • Diameter: The transfer pivot diameter must be able to accommodate the patient’s foot size. Typically pivot discs come in sizes ranging from 12 inches right up to 18 to 20 inches.
  • A label on top: As the transfer disc is a simple device, many device makers put a label on top to mark which side goes up.
  • 360-degree rotation: Discs can have rotation from 90 degrees to up to 360 degrees. The 360 degrees rotation option is the most versatile to use since it can be put in any orientation under the patient’s feet without worrying about direction.

In the next section, we discuss our picks for the top transfer discs available for the elderly, based on the selection criteria that we have outlined above.

Drive Medical Lifestyle Transfer Disc, 15″

The drive medical lifestyle transfer disc is our top choice for a pivoting disc in this list. It is a 15-inch disc that can be used comfortably at the home, office or for transferring someone to the car as well. 

Drive Medical RTL6048 Lifestyle Transfer...

Both the top and bottom surfaces of the disc have been made with non-slippery material to ensure that they do not cause a slip.

At a mere 2.6 pounds, the disc is very light and easy to carry anywhere. The disc rotates smoothly, but not effortlessly, which ensures that the patient does not turn too rapidly for the caregiver to manage, thus putting them in harm’s way.

Pros

  • Lightweight, easy to carry around
  • The non-stick surface on the top and bottom
  • Swivels smoothly but not very fast

Cons

  • It takes a bit of effort to rotate the disc which may be uncomfortable for some people
  • Some people have complained of the disc breaking up into two parts

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Sammons Preston Transfer Disc

The Sammons Preston Transfer disc is another very good pivot disc for rotating a patient from one seated position to another. 

Sammons Preston Transfer Disc

It features a 360-degree rotatable swivel on a 12-inch disc (also available in 15-inch variety). Both the base and turntable of the disc are covered with a grip that stops the person standing on it from slipping off and the disc itself moving due to the weight of the patient

It offers a weight capacity of 330 pounds, thus covering most people. The swivel action is smooth and requires minimal action from the caregiver.

The disc itself weighs only 2.8 pounds, is lightweight and easy to carry around and use as per need.

Pros

  • Non-slip grip on both the turntable and the bottom
  • 360-degree full rotation, flexible to be used from any position
  • The disc does not spin loosely, reducing chances of accidental falls

Cons

  • People with weaker arms/lesser upper body strength might need assistance for turning
  • Turning the disc becomes harder over time, as the rotational capability diminishes

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SafetySure Pivot Disc

The SafetySure Pivot Disc from MTS medical supply features a convenient grip handle that can be used to pick up, carry and place the disc anywhere as per requirement.

SafetySure Pivot Disc

The disc plates are made from a high-quality polymer which aids motion and makes the swivel motion smooth and comfortable.

An anti glide tape is applied on both sides of the transfer disc which helps prevent the device from slipping on the floor or the patient from slipping off the device.

The disc is available in various sizes – 13, 15 and 18 inches, which makes it easy for users of different shoe sizes to select the right size for their needs.

Up to a weight of 400 pounds is supported by the disc, which comfortably covers most patient sizes.

Pros

  • Weight capacity of 400 pounds, available in sizes 13,15 and 18 inches.
  • Handle on disc for easy portability
  • High-quality polymer discs for smooth swivel

Cons

  • The disc does not swivel as well as advertised, as per few complainants

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Bodyhealth Transfer Disc

The Bodyhealth transfer disc is the only transfer disc on this list that is made with 3 plates of high-quality polymer plates, which optimize the motion of the plate to neither too fast, nor too slow so that there is no risk of the patient falling off.

Bodyhealth Transfer Disc

The turnstile rotates a full 360 degree around the pivot, making it easy on the caregiver to place the disc anywhere without having to worry about orientation.

There is an anti-slip coating on both the top and bottom part of the disc which prevents the risk of slipping in wet conditions.

There is a built-in handle on the disc which can be used to easily carry and place the device. The disc is available in sizes 13,15 and 18 inches to suit every shoe size. It also has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds to support most patient needs.

The device is lightweight and weighs only 2.1 pounds.\

Pros

  • Handle on the device for easy transportability
  • Weight capacity of 400 pounds and available in multiple sizes
  • Rotates full 360 degree
  • 3 plates for smooth motion

Cons

  • The disc does not spin well, as per some complainants

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Conclusion

A pivot disc or transfer disc is an extremely useful device for a patient who needs support to move from a seated position to another. It may be used for transferring from a bed to a wheelchair, a wheelchair to a car, a wheelchair to a commode or any other combination. Pivot discs are often used in conjunction with other transfer assistive devices such as gait belts or transfer vests, which can be used to help the patient stand.

Ideal pivot discs need to have a smooth, but slow swivel action along with a strong, gripping surface, both on the base and the turnstile to ensure the safety of the patient. They should also be of the right weight-bearing capacity and size to be able to hold the patient while he is being supported to move to another seat.