How to Transfer a Paralyzed Patient From Wheelchair to the Bed

transferring a paralyzed patient from wheelchair

Looking for an answer on how to transfer a paralyzed patient from a wheelchair to the bed? Below are four methods that can help you get the job done!

What to Do in Preparation for the Wheelchair-to-Bed Transfer

  1. Take a moment to examine the situation at hand. This pause is crucial for you to think about the best way to handle the task. For example, do you need an extra set of hands to help? The paralyzed person you’re planning to transfer may be bigger than you first thought, and you can’t get the job done on your own otherwise, they could fall. 
  2. Make sure you lock the wheels of the wheelchair, as well as the hospital bed, before attempting to move the patient. If not secured in place, the wheelchair or the bed could shift during the transfer causing you or your patient to slip and fall, especially if you depend on either of them for support. You want to always ensure the stability of your surroundings for a smooth transfer.
  3. Adjust the head of the bed, so it’s in a raised position. After that, lower the bed as a unit to reach the best possible level that guarantees an easy transfer.
  4. Check the path from the wheelchair to the bed. There shouldn’t be any objects in the way, so remove any obstacles that might slow down or interfere with the transport.
  5. Check your attire and make sure you’re not wearing anything slippery. Also, your shoes should be non-skid to avoid slipping and falling accidents.
  6. If you’ve asked someone to aid you with the transfer, be sure to communicate your instructions as clearly as possible. It’s best if you explain to them the transfer directions before starting to move the patient.
  7. Fold or move the armrests and footrests of the wheelchair before you begin the transfer process.
  8. If you’re using a gait belt to move the patient, make sure it’s tightly fastened around the patient’s waist. This will give you a secure grip on the person during the moving process.

How to Transfer a Paralyzed Patient from Wheelchair to Bed

The question now is, how do you transfer a paralyzed patient from a wheelchair to a bed? Below, we’re discussing four different techniques that you can follow to move a paralyzed patient in various situations:

Method 1 — Manual Transfer of a Person Incapable of Moving Both Legs

  • First, place the wheelchair as close as you can to the bed when you intend to transfer the patient.
  • Stand as close as possible to the patient during the transfer process.
  • Place the patient’s feet flat on the ground.
  • Be aware of your body’s moving mechanics while transferring the patient. You should: bend your knees, use your core muscles to shift, curve your back, and source your momentum from the hips. You shouldn’t: move from your back, straighten your back, or twist your waist while your feet are solid in place.
  • During the transfer, make sure your arms are close to your core instead of leaving them stretched out and position your feet to be as wide as your hips.
  • Make sure your head is raised rather than upward and not bent forward during the transfer process.
  • Avoid having the patient hug or hold your neck while you’re moving them.
  • Finally, use the momentum of your body to move the patient by pushing rather than pulling.

If the patient starts to fall during the transfer process, the ideal action to do is bend your knees and slowly lower them to the floor (or a safe surface), then find help.

Never grab the patient by their clothes to try and prevent them from falling!

Method 2 — Manual Transfer of a Person Capable of Standing on One Leg

  • First, you should get everything into the proper position. Place the wheelchair at a 30-degree angle to the bed and make sure the gait belt (or transfer harness) is fastened securely around the patient’s waist without being too tight. Also, adjust the upper surface of the bed to be at the same level as the seat of the wheelchair.
  • Next, it’s time to help sit up the patient. Start by making sure their feet are flat against the ground, then move to stand in front of the wheelchair. After that, firmly grab the gait belt and have the patient grip onto your waist.
  • Lastly, use the gait belt to support the patient as they lift themselves and pivot.

Keep in mind that the gait belt shouldn’t be treated as a lifting device, so take care not to haul the patient up by accident.

Also, don’t let go of the gait belt until you’re positive that the patient is properly situated on the bed.

Method 3 — Mechanical Transport Using a Patient Lift

If the paralyzed patient has very low mobility, the best option is to use a patient lift, also known as a patient hoist, hydraulic lift, and Hoyer lift.

These devices feature a sling connected to its gantry.

The general procedure involves putting this sling around the patient, and then the machine will lift it via hydraulics or electric motors.

As such, you’ll be able to move the patient from wheelchair to bed without any manual labor.

This method requires professional training to perform correctly, so be sure you’re qualified before attempting to use it on a patient.

Method 4 — Self-transfer Via a Transfer Board

This method allows patients to simply slide from the wheelchair to the bed with minimal effort as the board provides the necessary support for the patient’s body during the whole transfer process.

This method is great for patients with low upper body strength as they always need support to be able to move.

  • First, you should get everything into the proper position. Place the wheelchair at a 30-degree angle to the bed and make sure the gait belt (or transfer harness) is fastened securely around the patient’s waist without being too tight.

(Also, adjust the upper surface of the bed to be at the same level as the seat of the wheelchair and make sure the patient’s feet are flat on the floor).

  • Slide one end of the transfer board under the patient’s thigh and position the other end completely on the bed, so it doesn’t move when weight is applied later on.
  • Finally, the patient has to use their arms to gently lift their body and slide it onto the board then onto the bed.

Wrapping it Up

There you have it, four different methods to guide you on how to transfer a paralyzed patient from a wheelchair to the bed!

As you can see, each technique has its own circumstances to use, so check carefully before trying any of them!

We hope you found this guide useful!