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Patient Transfer from a Wheelchair

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 chair, car etc. and back can be difficult and even cause injury to the caregiver. Moving in and out of a wheelchair takes both strength and coordination. Communication can be one of the most critical tasks 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 patient 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.
  • Fold back or remove the foot pedals and leg rests.
  • A gait belt should be used to prevent injury to the patient.
    • 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 the back while bending the knees during the transfer.
  • Move the wheelchair backward when moving upward, such as on a curb or stairs.
  • Have the patient seated with their legs at a right angle (90 degrees) at both the knees and hips.
  • Unless directed, the person should be seated with their feet flat on the floor.
  • If they start to fall, don’t try to stop the fall, but rather, bend at the knees and slowly lower them to the chair, bed, floor, or other safe surface.
  • Always be familiar with the wheelchair and its specific features before lifting someone.


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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