The Transfer Stretcher

    Lately I have been updating my transfer posts and pages such as this one.  Fixing the formatting, correcting mistakes, adding more information and so on.  In doing so I have realised that there is no post and little information about the transfer stretcher.  This is something that needs fixing as the stretcher is such an important part of the industry.

    There are two types of transfer stretchers, the 'ambulance' stretcher and the 'carry' stretcher.  The 'carry' or 'two man' stretcher is the simplest and cheapest stretcher.  It only has two wheels on the foot end, however these wheels are fixed to the stretcher.  This means the stretcher cannot be raised or lowered and must be carried about.  Which makes it cheap to make and maintain and light.  This is the lighter of the two stretchers and perfect for places that need a lot of carrying.

    The other type of stretcher is the 'ambulance' or 'collapsable' stretcher.  It has four wheels on the end of legs which can be raised or lowered.  This means the stretcher can be raised to bed hight, which makes transferring a body out of a bed easier.  It also means that the stretcher can be wheeled along, so it is easier and simpler to use.  The down side is that this stretcher is heavy, so if carrying is needed it is not the best option.  The other thing is that this stretcher is quite expensive and requires maintenance.  I have heard of them costing anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on quality and whether they are second hand.  The wheels on a transfer stretcher collapse flat as it is loaded into the car by pulling on a leaver at the head end of the stretcher.

    The ambulance stretcher is my favourite as it is not only easier but so satisfying to load up.  Collapsing the legs of the stretcher as it is loaded into the van was so satisfying.  The click and clank as it came to rest.

    Stretchers have a 'foot bar' which runs along the foot end of the stretcher.  It is there to stop the body "slipping out" as it were.  Stretchers also have two seat belts on the inside to hold the body down.  One runs at about chest hight, the other at waist hight.

    Below are some pictures of various stretchers:

A carry stretcher and pillows on top of an ambulance stretcher.
Underneath the ambulance stretcher.

Inside a transfer van.
Inside a transfer van during cleaning.

    I am always interested in the terminology and attitudes towards the stretcher (and the funeral industry).  Many force a comparison between the funeral stretcher and medical stretchers.  An example of which is one transfer company website which says the company uses stretchers like those used by ambulances.  It goes on to say that in doing so it keeps the process dignified.  I intend to explore this idea one day when I have time.


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