One of the tasks performed by occupational therapists at Braeside Hospital in Sydney’s west is taking rehabilitation clients from the hospital to their homes to assess their ability to cope when they are discharged from hospital.
One of the problems in doing this is that there is often quite a big gap between the edge of the car door sill and the edge of the front passenger seat, and some short and/or frail clients have difficulty transferring into the car.
TAD had previously made fixed transfer seats to use with the hospital’s old vehicles, according to an idea by one the occupational therapists working there at the time. However, when the hospital bought new Holden Commodores they needed new seats to suit.
Occupational Therapist Karen says they also wanted a portable device as the fixed ones tended to come loose, and they would only need one overall instead of one for each vehicle.
Volunteer Jim Lemon made the new device, which has a steel frame with a longer leg that rests on the ground and a shorter one that rests between the seat and the door jamb. These are braced with struts that lock into position so the seat is secure and cannot collapse when someone is on it.
The transfer seat is made from pine which is polished so it is slippery enough for people to swivel across it as they transfer into the car seat, but not so slippery that they fall off it. The overall height is slightly lower than the car seat, so it is at exactly the same height as the car seat when the car seat is compressed by the patient’s weight. To fold the device, the therapist simply lifts the struts out of the lock position. It can then be carried like a briefcase or stored easily in the back of the car.