February 26, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
For wheelchair users, transferring is one of the most perilous parts of the day. Whether you’re transferring to a toilet, a vehicle or merely the living room couch, safety and security are key. Wheelchair users often don’t have functional legs, which makes transferring that much more difficult – and dangerous. These folks have to rely on upper body strength and smart planning to make a move to or from their wheelchair. But what happens if you make a mistake? What do you do if your wheelchair is knocked over while transferring?
We didn’t specify exactly when the wheelchair would get knocked over, and if it happens mid-transfer, there’s a chance you could fall. And if you’re a wheelchair user, you should probably try to learn to fall “correctly.” Although it’s counterintuitive, you should avoid tensing up during a tumble. The more relaxed you can keep your body, the less injured it will be.
This is good advice for any tricky situation, but perhaps even more prudent here. Not only will panicking possibly make the situation worse, it could also lead to injury. If you end up on the ground, don’t freak out and start frantically grabbing about; you could hurt yourself or someone else.
The wheelchair itself can play a vital role in a transfer, especially if it’s being used for stability by the person making the move. So if the wheelchair fell over, hopefully you didn’t fall over with it. If you can still safely make the transfer, then complete it. Having you in-between places isn’t going to help.
If you completed the transfer but now just have a toppled wheelchair, you shouldn’t try to be brave and pick it up yourself. Putting yourself in a situation where you bend over to pick up something heavy is dangerous for someone without full use of their legs or with other physical disabilities. One of the most important things for any wheelchair user to learn is when to ask for help. Regardless of how independent you are or want to be, everybody needs a little help from time to time. This is one of those times.