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How to Move a Disabled Person from Bed to Wheelchair

How to Move a Disabled Person from Bed to Wheelchair

Moving a disabled person from bed to wheelchair is quite an overwhelming task, especially when you are new to caregiving. Sometimes you can put your own risk if the patient is bulky and has no lower body strength. So, it is better to understand whether you solely will be able to transfer the patient. Otherwise, you should seek the assistance of another person or a sling lift. 

Although you are less experienced, following the right techniques and tools can help you move the person in a wheelchair safely and easily. This article will help you learn the steps you should follow while moving the consumer from bed to wheelchair or from wheelchair to bed. 

Moving from a Bed to a Wheelchair

Here we will discuss the steps and techniques that can help you to transfer the patient from a bed to a wheelchair independently.

1- Preparation of Environment

The first step is to make the environment accessible for the smooth transfer of an individual in a wheelchair. It includes following the necessary practices. 

  • Clearly explain the process to the person and ask to act accordingly. 
  • Clear the path between the wheelchair and bed from any obstacles or rugs. 
  • For slippery floors, put non-skid shoes or socks on the patient feet to avoid him/her slipping away. 
  • Brings the wheelchair close to the bed. Position and lock its wheels. 
  • Remove the armrest and fling away the footrests. 

2- Sit the Patient up

Now you have to help the patient to sit because it is usually easier to pivot in the wheelchair. For this, you can have to follow the below steps. 

  • Position the person in the bed lying flat on their back, facing up. And then, ask him/her to take a turn on a side facing towards you and the wheelchair and bend the knees.  
  • After turning the body to a side and bending the knees. Now you have put your arm under the patient’s upper body while supporting the shoulders. At the same time, put the other arm behind the knees and help the person to sit on the bed. Swing the legs on the edge of the bed.  
  • Allow the patient to sit for a few moments because the sitting process can make them feel dizzy. 

3- Stand the Patient up

  • Grip the patient by putting your arm around the chest and locking your hand on the back of the patient. You can also use a transfer belt for better holding of the patient. 
  • Now encourage the person to roll towards you while you lift him up and make the patient stand. 
  • You can use your knee to support the patient’s lower body. 

Precaution: If you are unable to hold the patient in this way. Then it is better to use a transfer board to help the patient move from the bed to the wheelchair. 

If you ever feel that you are losing control of the person or he/she is falling from your hands. Then you should carefully handle yourself and the patient and lower down to the nearest bed, surface, or floor to avoid any injury. 

4- Sit the Patient in a Wheelchair

Keep your hands strong and tight around the patient in the standing position. 

  • Now help the person to pivot towards the chair. 
  • You should lean towards the wheelchair to help the patient sit comfortably by bending your knees. 

5- Secure the Patient

Once the patient is seated in the wheelchair. Now you have to adjust the armrests and footrests. Further, you should position the backrest and headrests to ensure the patient sits comfortably. Finally, unlock the chair wheels and allow it to move. 

Moving from a Wheelchair to a Bed

Follow the below steps and techniques to shift the patient from a wheelchair to the bed independently.

  • Move the wheelchair near the bed and keep the strong leg beside or near the bed. 
  • Lock the brakes and place the feet on the floor. Make sure to remove the footrests from the way.
  • Ask the person to slide and move forward on the wheelchair.
  • Come close to the wheelchair and stand in front of the person.
  • Now ask the patient to sit upright and lean forward towards you and get out of the wheelchair while you assist him/her in getting out of the wheelchair. 
  • Hold the person from the upper part of the body. If the person has a weak arm, then avoid pulling them. Instead of putting your arms under their armpits, try to hold the using your hands. 
  • Assist the person in moving their feet and keep a hold on him until he/she reaches the edge of the bed. 
  • As the person comes near the bed, help them sit on it and then assist them in comfortably lying on the bed. 

Tips for Added Safety

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when moving a disabled person in and out of bed:

  • Think about the steps and procedure before starting. 
  • Explain the steps to the patient and ask them to follow. 
  • Communication is the key to the smooth and effortless transmission of patients from bed to wheelchair or wheelchair to bed. You and the patient can communicate and help each other during the whole procedure. 
  • Ask the patient to cooperate with you using their own physical strength during the process. 
  • Use your own body mechanics, like keeping your back straight and avoiding twisting your body to prevent injury to yourself.
  • Use a transfer belt, a useful tool for shifting the person from bed to wheelchair and vice versa. It helps you get more grip on the patient. 
  • Before shifting the patient determine the physical strength of the patient. If the person has a weak lower body, you should seek another person’s assistance. 
  • In case the patient is bariatric and bulky, then we suggest you have the assistance of another caregiver or professional for easy transfer. 

Remember that the safety and comfort of the person being moved should always be the top priority. With proper techniques and precautions, transferring a person from a bed to a wheelchair or from a wheelchair to a bed can be done safely and efficiently.