As a dutiful child, you ​accompany your mom for her medical appointment. Wheeling your mom to the car was easy but the greatest hurdle is how do you transfer her safely into the car? Should you start with her left or right leg first?  How do you carry her into the car?

Caregivers are often required to help patients with transportation to and from medical appointments. While some are able to transfer their loved ones easily, others might require ssistance.

Without the proper techniques, making a wheelchar transfer can be difficult and may even result in injury.

A common mistake that caregivers make while transferring patients (into and out of a car) is parking the wheelchair far away or too near to the vehicle,” shared Ms Lee Shu Hui, Senior Occupational Therapist from SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Having enough space between the wheelchair and the vehicle is essential to allow caregivers to transfer patients safely.

What is the right distance between the patient on wheelchair and the car?

Distance is too far: If the distance requires the caregiver to carry the patient through a longer distance for car transfer, this can lead to an increased risk in falling for patients who are less mobile.

Distance is too near: If there is not enough space for the patient and caregiver to stand and pivot during transfer, the patient and caregiver may injure themselves during car transfer.

While performing wheelchair transfers, caregivers should take note of the following to prevent patients from getting injured.

Safety precautions when transferring a patient on wheelchair to and from a car

Park and lock the wheelchair near the car seat and parallel to the vehicle

Remind the patient to lower his or her head during the transfer to avoid knocking against the car frame

Remind the patient to sit down completely on the car seat first before bringing both legs into the vehicle

Now that you know some safety pointers, here are the steps to transfer a loved one on wheelchair into and out of a car safely.

How to transfer a patient from a wheelchair into a car (passenger side of the vehicle)

  1. Park wheelchair near the car seat and parallel to the vehicle

  2. Lock the brakes on both sides of the wheelchair to prevent the wheelchair from moving

  3. Remove the leg and foot rests on both sides of the wheelchair

  4. Lift the arm rest of the wheelchair, located closet to the vehicle

  5. Move the patient slightly forward and towards you

  6. Place the patient’s right hand onto the vehicle’s seat

  7. Place the patient’s left hand on the wheelchair arm rest

  8. Lift the patient by holding the waist band and let patient sit on the vehicle’s seat first

  9. Bring both legs into the car, starting with the right leg

  10. Don’t forget to help the patient put on the seat belt

How to transfer a patient from a car onto a wheelchair (passenger side of the vehicle)

  1. Lock the brakes on both sides of the wheelchair to prevent the wheelchair from moving

  2. Remove the leg and foot rests on both sides of the wheelchair

  3. Lift up the right arm rest of the wheelchair, which is closest to the vehicle

  4. Bring both legs of the patient out of the car, starting with the left leg

  5. Move the patient slightly forward towards you

  6. Place the patient’s left hand on the left arm rest of the wheelchair

  7. Place the patient’s right hand on the vehicle’s seat

  8. Lift the patient by holding the waist band and let the patient sit on the wheelchair

  9. Bring down the right arm rest of the wheelchair

  10. Attach the leg and foot rests on both sides

Ref: K21

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