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Person transfer assist systems: a literature review.

  • Sivakanthan, Sivashankar1, 2
  • Blaauw, Eline1, 3
  • Greenhalgh, Mark1, 2
  • Koontz, Alicia M1, 2
  • Vegter, Riemer3
  • Cooper, Rory A1, 2
  • 1 Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
  • 2 Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
  • 3 Centre for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
Published Article
Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2019.1673833
PMID: 31607186


Novel developments in the robotics field have produced systems that can support person wheelchair transfers, maximize safety and reduce caregiver burden. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe these systems, their usability (or satisfaction), the context for which they have been or can be used and how they have been evaluated to determine evidence for their effectiveness. Available research on Person Transfer Assist Systems (PTAS) was systematically gathered using similar standards to the PRISMA guidelines. The search terms were derived from common terms and via exploring similar review articles. Initial search terms displayed 1330 articles and by using the inclusion/exclusion criteria 96 articles were selected for abstract review. After full- text reviewing 48 articles were included. 29 articles concerned research in robotic transfer systems, 10 articles used both ceiling and floor-mounted lifts and 9 articles used only floor-mounted lifts as an intervention/control group. The results of this analysis identified a few usability evaluations for robotic transfer prototypes, especially ones comparing prototypes to existing marketed devices. Robotic device research is a recent development within assistive technology. Whilst usability evaluations provided evidence that a robotic device will provide better service to the user, the sample number of subjects used are minimal in comparison to any of the intervention/control group articles. Experimental studies between PTASs are required to support technological advancements. Caregiver injury risk has been the focus for most of the comparison articles; however, few articles focus on the implications to the person.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONCeiling mounted lifts are preferred over floor-based lifts due to lower injury rates.Many robotic transfer systems have been developed; however, there is a paucity of quantitative and qualitative studies.Based on the results of this review, rehabilitation settings are recommended to use ceiling over floor assist systems, and it is recommended to provide training on using devices to assist with patient transfers to lower the risk of injuries.

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