Physiotherapist Elizabeth Brown educating staff on Connell 10 about the new transfer poles.
Physiotherapist Elizabeth Brown educating staff on Connell 10 about the new transfer poles.
Matthew Manor/KGH

For many patients, getting in and out of their inpatient bed can be a challenge and this is where some new equipment is coming in handy in our hospital. Several new transfer poles have just been added to Connell 10 for patients with mobility issues to use.

These poles attach to a permanent base installed on the floor and stand four and a half feet tall. Patients hold on to the poles when transferring from one surface to another, such as from the bed to a commode, or from the bed to a chair.

“Transfer poles are specially designed to help patients with limited strength or balance stay mobile and as independent as possible while they are in the hospital,” says Kim Smith, Professional Practice Lead for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

"It’s a senior-friendly initiative that we hope will help patients recover quickly and head home sooner.”

— Kim Smith, Professional Practice Lead

“KGH already had two similar poles in place in therapy space on Kidd 7 and Kidd 4. The idea of installing some of them on a patient care unit came from a recent Patient Feedback Forum. During these forums, former patients and family members are invited to return to KGH to meet with their health care team and share feedback about their overall hospital experience. In this case, the 86 year old patient involved had a transfer pole in place at her home, and would have benefited from having one handy at her bedside here to help her keep her strength up. As a result, four new poles have been added to Connell 10. One is in the sunroom and three more are next to patient beds in different rooms.

Before a patient begins using one, a PT or an OT will do an initial assessment with them in the sunroom to see if they are a good candidate to use one. Once they have been given the green light, efforts will be made to get them into a room with a pole base in it. Nurses and personal care assistants will then be on hand to make sure the patient is using the pole safely for bedside mobility and the patient will continue to use the pole for therapy.

“We are thrilled the poles are here and we will be working with care teams regularly to make sure everyone is Elizabeth Brown, Physiotherapist. “They are a great tool to help patients get up more easily and improve their strength, and they will also allow us to customize our therapy plans more around the needs of the patient.”

The poles will also save valuable treatment time, as the care team won’t have to take eligible patients off the floor and down to the therapy spaces every time they want to use a transfer pole. The poles at KGH will also help patients having one installed in their home after they are discharged if they don’t already have one.

“Transfer poles are a simple piece of equipment that can benefit a variety of patients, including those with neurological issues or respiratory issues. Connell 10 will now be able to showcase their benefits so people can decide if one would help them out at home as well, particularly if their mobility changed,” says Smith.