Wheelchair Transferring: Four Precautions You Should Always Take

July 4, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

Any lifestyle change, no matter how big or small, has an adjustment period. And when you find yourself suddenly in a wheelchair, the adjustment can be rough. We highly recommend you take a look at our blog – we provide ample resources for wheelchair users, new and old.

Even if it’s a little tough, you will eventually adjust to your new lifestyle. And one of the most critical parts of your new life is transferring. If you want to spend time out of your wheelchair, then transferring is a must. But this is also an extremely vulnerable situation for most wheelchair users, especially for those with significant paralysis. Which is why you should always take precautions when transferring.

What kind of precautions? Here are four of the most important:

Check the brakes

Some people don’t even have brakes on their wheelchair, which we don’t recommend. And whenever you’re transferring, be sure to have those brakes engaged. Otherwise, you might start rolling away mid-transfer.

Ensure the target is close enough

Transferring is something that should be done swiftly, especially when you’re alone. When your rear end is in the air, that’s a very vulnerable moment for you. And if you’re alone, you’re depending on your arm strength to support your weight; that won’t last long. Ensuring the target landing area is close will minimize your airtime, thereby minimizing your danger.

Prioritize stability

Why stability? Because instability is problematic. Instability means that your chair is wobbly or you’re unsteady – and if that’s true, then you’re at risk of toppling over. So at all times, be sure to prioritize stability. Don’t move your butt out of the chair unless that chair is still, and when you’re in the air, keep it as steady as possible.

Come toward the target at an angle

You don’t want to face the target directly, because your butt has got to move – and that will be much harder if you have to move it 180 degrees. Instead, approach from the side of your chair, but with your face angled toward the target. This will allow you to push off the wheelchair as you transfer to the target spot.

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