The surge in demand for patient lateral transfer equipment amidst Covid-19, growing demand for home healthcare services, rising cases of musculoskeletal injuries to caregivers & patients, technological developments in patient lateral transfer equipment, and roll-out/implementation of safe patient handling programs/guidelines are some of the pivotal factors driving the global patient lateral transfer market. 

The Global Patient Lateral Transfer Market is set to witness a growth rate of ~9-10% in the next 5 years. A patient lateral transfer is a way of patient handling wherein a patient is moved from surface to surface, such as bed to bed or bed to hospital cart.

High Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries to Caregivers & Patients Drives the Patient Lateral Transfer Market

Lateral transfers of patients are one of the most commonly completed tasks in a hospital setting. Patient lateral transfer poses a risk to both the patient and the caregiver. Research findings suggest that injuries to healthcare workers happen most during patient transfers. The forces required to complete lateral transfers are extremely high and pose a substantial risk for musculoskeletal injury to the caregivers completing them. Musculoskeletal injuries include damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, bursae, joints, and cartilage, including intervertebral discs. Inappropriate handling also puts patients at risk of falls, fractures, dislocation, bruises, and skin tears.

“Healthcare has the highest proportion of work-related injuries of all professionals and lateral transfers and repositioning are the most commonly performed patient handling tasks which often leads to musculoskeletal injuries. Growing cases of musculoskeletal injuries amongst caregivers and patients are fueling the demand for patient lateral transfer equipment.”- CEO, Leading Manufacturer of Patient Handling Equipment, United States

The Utility of Patient Lateral Transfer Equipment Amidst Covid-19 

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the Covid-19 virus spread rapidly and relentlessly across the globe and adversely impacted a multitude of industries worldwide. With lockdowns implemented, social distancing mandated, and widespread apprehension, the patient lateral transfer equipment emerged as a safe option to transfer patients and reduce the risk of Covid-19.

Covid-19 resulted in a high rate of hospitalization of patients suffering from mild respiratory tract illness to severe progressive pneumonia, primarily manifesting as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Prone positioning was widely used to improve oxygenation and reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients who required mechanical ventilatory support for the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, this manoeuvring was not risk-free from a patient handling perspective and work-related injuries were an obvious risk for the caregivers. To address these concerns, patient lateral transfer equipment was used as a feasible solution for turning a patient into prone positioning.

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Technological Advancements Drive the Patient Lateral Transfer Market 

Technological advancements in patient lateral transfer equipment to ensure safe patient handling for both caregivers and patients are expected to fuel its demand in the coming years.

For instance,

•In June 2022, full-service product design and development company, Wideblue, collaborated with SME Science to Business and East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) on a project, which is being funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research to develop novel patient transfer device. The product being developed aids in patient transfer, is padded, lightweight & foldable, has a heating element powered by a rechargeable battery that provides warmth, and stays with the patient during all pre-and in-hospital transfers

Organic and Inorganic Growth Strategies Adopted by Players to Establish Their Foothold

The patient lateral transfer market is marked by the presence of both established and new players. Players operating in the market adopt both organic and inorganic growth strategies such as acquisitions, and new product launches to garner market share.

For instance,

•In September 2021, Agiliti, Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sizewise Rentals, LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of specialty hospital beds, surfaces, and patient handling equipment.  The acquisition expands Agiliti’s end-to-end service offering to customers, strengthening capabilities in high-demand specialty equipment services

The patient lateral transfer market is expected to continue to grow in the coming years due to growing cases of healthcare work-related musculoskeletal injuries, technological advancements in patient lateral transfer equipment, and safe patient handling programs/guidelines.

Competitive Landscape Analysis of Patient Lateral Transfer Market

The patient lateral transfer market is marked by the presence of players such as Arjo, Stryker, Hillrom/Baxter, McAuley Medical/Pelstar, Etac, Sizewise, Samarit Medical, AliMed, Haines Medical Australia, Blue Chip Medical, among others.

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