Tips and Tricks For Wheelchair Users to Have a Safer Transfer

August 1, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

One of the top priorities for any wheelchair user has to be safety – in fact, it may even be your top priority. Because when you are in a wheelchair, you have to be prepared for potential associated difficulties. You can still live a happy, full life; but you must always keep the wheelchair in mind.

For instance, you wouldn’t travel a bumpy path through the woods alone, right? You could suffer an accident and fall from the chair. So you can still take the path, as long as you bring someone with you, just in case.

For daily wheelchair life, the most dangerous part of the day is usually transferring. Your rear end is airborne and you’re slightly unstable; which makes falling a definitive risk. Here are some tips and tricks to have a safer transfer:

  • The wheelchair needs to be stationary now

Ensure the brakes are applied and that the chair isn’t going to move before you begin. A shifty wheelchair is going to threaten stability, which leads us into the next tip…

  • Make stability priority No. 1

You always need to prioritize stability, because instability is the enemy of all transfers. With instability, the wheelchair could rock or move, you could lose your balance, you could fall, etc. So before making any moves, always ensure you’re stable. No swaying in midair.

  • Always grab a strong hold of something

And that something should also be stable. In general, you should keep one hand on the wheelchair (probably on an armrest), and then use the second hand for additional stability. If you’re transferring alone, grab a hold of something near the target area. For instance, moving to a toilet? Grab one of the support bars for help.

If you’re transferring with help, you might want to use the second hand to grab hold of your helper.

  • Don’t “face up” the target

As in, don’t point your wheelchair directly at it. Ideally, you want to come toward it at an angle. One armrest should be very close to the target, so that you can use that armrest to help propel you forward. You will still be facing toward the target, but at an angle like this.

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