Part of being a wheelchair user is learning how to make smooth transfers part of your daily routine. While you may be able to manage some of these transfers yourself, it’s likely that you will also need the assistance of a caregiver or family member. Both situations require that you and your assistant become familiar with some wheelchair safety guidelines. Following them will help to ensure that you avoid injuries.
- Ask for help when you need it. If you experience discomfort or simply get stuck, speak up to get the help you need.
- Communicate. Let the person assisting you know how to help. Outline your preferred method of transferring in and out of your chair, and tell him what works best.
- Put safety first. Wearing nonslip shoes, locking your chair’s wheels and raising or removing footrests are all important wheelchair safety steps that need to be taken when you’re attempting a transfer.
- Use worn or broken transfer aids. Gait belts, sliding boards and mechanical lifts need to be in good working order to prevent injury.
- Position your chair too far away. Make sure that your chair is close enough to wherever it is that you’re going. Also make sure the stronger side of your body is on the side of your final destination.
- Exceed your limits. If you’re unable to transfer yourself safely, don’t push it. Get someone to assist you. Likewise, make sure your caregiver can handle the job. He should understand and be able to execute proper lifting techniques. If necessary, he should know how to use transfer aids. This will protect both of you from injury.
At Power Mobility and Lifts, our team of experts has more than 35 years of combined experience in assisting customers with their wheelchair, power scooter and lift needs. Contact us for service in Phoenix and elsewhere in Arizona.
Wheelchair assistant image via Shutterstock