The user of the wheelchair should be comfortable and capable of transferring without injuring themselves or others before trying wheelchair transfer techniques. If the proper techniques aren’t used, transferring from a wheelchair to a car and back can be difficult and even cause injury to you as a caregiver. Moving in and out of a wheelchair takes both strength and coordination. Communication can be one of the most critical pieces of moving a patient.
These tips and techniques can benefit both people for an easy and safe transfer:
- The wheelchair should be moved close to where the person will be moved.
- The person should transfer on the stronger side of their body.
- It is important to lock the wheelchair and keep it locked while the person is moving into or out of it.
- Remove the foot pedals and/or leg rests.
- A gait belt should be used to prevent injury to the person.
- If the person’s knees are not strong, block their knees while they stand up.
- Always inspect the gain belt for rips, tears, or other issues to ensure they are in good condition.
- Maintain a natural curve in your back while bending your knees during the transfer.
- Push the wheelchair backward if you go upward, such as up a curb or stairs.
- Have the person seated with their legs at a right angle (90 degrees) at both the knees and hips.
- Unless directed, the person is seated with their feet flat on the floor.
- If they start to fall, don’t try to stop the fall, but rather, bend your knees and slowly lower them to the chair, bed, floor, or other safe surface.
- Always familiarize yourself with the wheelchair’s features before lifting someone.