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Wheelchair Safety in your Assisted Living Facility

By brian barrick
February 02, 2012

Wheelchairs may seem pretty easy to maneuver, but there are many precautions you can take to avoid injury. To transfer a weak resident from a bed to a wheelchair follow these safety tips:

  • Evaluate the resident overall strength and check for cognitive impairments
  • Inform the resident of the procedure
  • Place the wheelchair next to the bed, make sure that when you are as close as possible to the bed that the breaks are locked on the wheelchair
  • Adjust the height of the bed so the bed is as equal to the wheelchair as possible and remember to lock the beds breaks when it is in position
  • Lower the side rails of the bed and if possible, raise the head of the bed to a point that is comfortable for the resident
  • Place one arm under the shoulder of the resident and the other arm supporting the residents’ thigh on the opposite side. Count to three and then carefully swing the legs of the resident over the side of the bed and assist him in lifting his trunk and shoulders until he is in sitting position. If resident is strong enough to do some movements, allow the resident to participate on the maneuver.
  • Position your arms around the torso of the resident for support. Put one arm of the resident over your shoulder; while his other arm is extended on the bed, to help maintain the position. Instruct the resident to scoot over the edge of the bed until feet is flat on the floor.
  • Position your right foot alongside the residents’ left foot and place your leg on the level on his knee
  • Slightly bend your knees and tilt your body. Then instruct the resident to get ready for a push from one arm that’s extended on the bed, as you lift him up to standing position.
  • Elevate resident to standing position and keep your back straight as you do this maneuver. Adjust the resident so that his back is positioned in front of the wheelchair; instruct him to grasp on the armrest for additional support, and then slowly support the patient as he lowers himself on the seat of the chair.
  • Help the resident in positioning himself appropriately when seated. Make sure that his buttocks are entirely rested on the seat and his back firmly resting on the back support. Place his arms on the armrests and his feet on the footrests.

 When the resident is on the wheelchair, make sure they are aware of the center of gravity. Proper positioning is very important for your safety. When leaning, reaching, bending sideways or forward, it is essential to use the casters as a tool to maintaining stability and balance.

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