A guide for HCAs on safe patient transfers

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article is written predominantly for healthcare assistants. It may also be useful for anyone less familiar with transferring patients or who delegates to HCAs. It offers a definition of patient transfer and addresses considerations for patient safety and the role of HCAs throughout the three distinct phases of transfer, which are: preparation to transfer (before); considerations of transfer (during); and at the point of final handover (actual transfer) in a hospital. It also addresses the role of escorting patients, and highlights the difference between transferring and escorting. Finally, a framework for best practice is suggested, which could be applied in clinical areas where high proportions of patients are transferred, such as emergency departments, discharge lounges and admissions or assessment units. This framework is adaptable and can help in the development of local hospital policies for the safe transfer of patients. The key message of this article is that patient transfer is a process that requires adequate preparation and occurs in distinct phases, each of which must be carried out with proper care and attention if patients are to be transferred safely.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationNursing times
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Delegation
  • Escort
  • Healthcare assistants
  • Patient safety
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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