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Most people have no idea how to transfer a person from the wheelchair to a car or van. However, in 80% of the cases where there is home care after surgery, there is a wheelchair involved. And, the patient will need to be transported to and from the doctor’s office. They will also need to be taken out for leisure and entertainment activities such as going to a park or a theater. Knowing how to carry out the transfer correctly will make the entire experience a good one.


One of the most important things to consider before attempting any type of wheelchair transfer is to make sure that the person being transferred is comfortable. Also, they should be in a position to be transferred without causing injury or aggravating the existing one. You will want to consult with a doctor to find out what to avoid when carrying out a wheelchair transfer.


What To Know Before Using Any Wheelchair Transfer Technique

Now, whether you are a parent, spouse, friend, or adult home care professional, you need to start by knowing the person’s needs. You also need to know a little about the wheelchair in question. Familiarize yourself with the wheelchair’s shape, size, brake system, and potential issues you could run into during the transfer, before actually attempting the steps we outline below.


Preparing the Environment and Transferring the Patient

Like any transfer, you need to prepare the environment to ensure a successful transfer. When you are transferring between two equally leveled surfaces, then it’s going to be easier. However, if you want to perform a pivot transfer, then you need both surfaces to be adjacent to one another, so you don’t need to take any physical steps.


You will also want to ensure that the transfer is carried out on a dry surface that is clear of all obstacles. Doing this prevents any trips or slips. Once you take all the required safety precautions, start following the steps below:


  • Start by positioning the wheelchair right next to the car. You will want it to have a slight 30 or 40-degree angle, but it isn’t necessary.
  • Lock the brakes of the wheelchair. The footrest should be moved out away from the feet. You should also move the armrest (on the sides) away.
  • Make sure to always speak to the person you are assisting so that your technique can be slightly changed if needed.
  • Ensure that the transfer belt is securely in place.
  • Move the person from the back to the front of the wheelchair in a way so that their feet touch the ground.
  • If required, you can block the knees which offer additional support by bearing the person’s weight.
  • The transfer will be completed when the person leans forward slightly over the feet, then by using their hands, push themselves into the seat of the car. Some may find that swinging their bottom generates more momentum, which makes getting into the car easier.


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