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1. (WO2019067758) PATIENT TRANSFER DEVICE
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CLAIMS

1. A transfer device comprising:

a housing comprising:

first and second opposing sides coupled to first and second opposing ends, the ends dimensioned for the housing to span a distance between a first surface proximate the first side and a second surface proximate the second side; and

a panel attached to the first and second opposing sides and the first and second opposing ends, the panel having a circumferential reinforcement providing structural stiffness to the housing;

a deck positioned at least partially within and coupled to the housing; and a continuous belt disposed for motion about the deck, the continuous belt configured to transfer a body from a first surface at a first side of the housing to a second surface at a second side of the housing.

2. The transfer device of claim 1 , wherein the panel comprises a base structure defining a horizontal base disposed on a bottom of the housing, and wherein:

the circumferential reinforcement comprises a vertical side wall extending about a perimeter of the base of the housing; and

the vertical side wall is attached to the first and second opposing sides and the first and second opposing ends of the housing.

3. The transfer device of claim 1 , further comprising multiple horizontally-oriented fasteners not accessible from an exterior of the housing, wherein the fasteners join the panel, the first and second opposing sides, and the first and second opposing ends of the housing together.

4. The transfer device of claim 1, wherein each of the first and second sides of the housing comprises a contoured edge region having converging top and bottom slopes selected for ergonomic interaction with the body in transfer thereof from the first surface to the second surface, and further comprising a surface treatment or material providing friction to hold the transfer device substantially stationary with respect to at least one of the first and second surfaces during the transfer of the body.

5. The transfer device of claim 1, further comprising a gasket sealing an exterior perimeter of the housing from entry of fluids or foreign matter, wherein the exterior perimeter of the housing comprises a fluid seal.

6. The transfer device of claim 1, wherein the continuous belt is disposed in a bidirectional conveying relationship about the deck, the continuous belt configured for motion in one direction to insert a transfer sheet into the housing and in an opposite direction to transfer the body from the first surface at the first side of the housing to the second surface at the second side of the housing.

7. The transfer device of claim 1, further comprising one or more impact-resistant corner members adapted to dissipate impact energy incident thereon into the housing, the impact-resistant corner members comprising elastomeric components disposed at one or more corners of the housing.

8. The transfer device of claim 1, further comprising first and second elongated rollers extending along first and second sides of the deck, wherein the first and second elongated rollers are spaced from the first and second sides of the deck by a distance that reduces contact between the first and second elongated rollers and the first and second sides of the deck due to excess deflection of the deck.

9. The transfer device of claim 1, wherein:

the deck comprises substantially symmetric top and bottom major surfaces attachable to end frame members of the housing for release and removal therefrom; and

the deck is reversible in disposition within the housing, with respect to the substantially symmetric top and bottom major surfaces and with respect to the end frame members.

10. The transfer device of claim 1, wherein the deck comprises substantially continuous top and bottom surfaces, lacking mechanical fasteners or deck assembly hardware accessible on either the top or bottom surface.

11. The transfer device of claim 10, wherein:

the deck comprises an extruded polymer deck body defining the top and bottom surfaces; or

the deck comprises two substantially symmetric panel structures coupled together to define the top and bottom surfaces of the deck with a plurality of integrated structural rib members extending therebetween.

The transfer device of claim 1 , further comprising one or more of:

a low-friction surface material disposed on an inner portion of the continuous belt, the low-friction surface material selected to reduce friction between the inner portion of the continuous belt and a top surface of the deck;

one or more visual alignment guides disposed on an exposed surface of the continuous belt, the one or more visual alignment guides configured to guide alignment of a transfer sheet placed on the belt and adapted for transferring the body on the continuous belt; and

reinforcement structures on one or more outer edges of the continuous belt, wherein the edges are adapted to resist abrasion and provide tensioning to maintain the continuous belt in position with respect to the deck.

13. The transfer device of claim 1 , further comprising texturing on one or both of an inner surface of the continuous belt and an outer surface of the deck, the texturing selected to reduce a surface area of contact between the inner surface of the continuous belt and the outer surface of the deck, and to thereby reduce friction between the continuous belt and the deck.

14. The transfer device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of mechanical connection points adapted for assembly of the housing, wherein the mechanical connection points are disposed along an interior surface of the housing, inaccessible from an exterior of the housing and when assembled the transfer device has no mechanical fastener components exposed on an exterior thereof.

15. The transfer device of claim 1 , further comprising one or more gaskets disposed along one or more externally-exposed seams between the panel and the housing, the gaskets adapted to seal the housing against fluid and contaminant entry.

16. A method for transferring a body a first surface to a second surface, the method comprising:

spanning a distance between the first surface and the second surface with a transfer device, the device comprising:

a housing with first and second opposing sides coupled to first and second opposing ends, the first surface proximate the first side and the second surface proximate the second side,

a panel having a circumferential reinforcement coupled to the first and second opposing sides and the first and second opposing ends to provide structural rigidity to the transfer device when loaded with the body, and

a continuous belt disposed about a deck positioned at least partially within and supported by the housing; and

transferring the body from the first surface to the second surface on the continuous belt, wherein the body is supported across the distance by the deck.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising positioning the transfer device in contact with the first and second surfaces along a frictional surface defined on a bottom of the panel, the frictional surface adapted to maintain a position of the transfer device with respect to the first and second surface, while transferring the body.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising attaching a sheet of material to the continuous belt and inserting a portion of the sheet of material into the housing on the continuous belt, wherein the body is supported by the deck on the sheet of material attached to the continuous belt, while transferring the body.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising removing the deck from the housing, reversing an orientation of the deck, and repositioning the deck at least partially within and supported by the housing, wherein the top and bottom surfaces or opposing sides or ends of the deck are reversed.

20. The method of claim 16, further comprising:

;ing first and second elongated rollers within the continuous belt, wherein the first and second rollers are spaced from opposing sides of the deck by a tolerance that increases from opposing ends to a middle portion thereof; and rotationally engaging the belt with the first and second elongated rollers, wherein the tolerance maintains clearance between the elongated rollers and the opposing sides of the deck upon flexing thereof, while transferring the body from the first surface to the second surface supported by the deck.