Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tips For Safely Transferring A Wheelchair Traveler Into A Car

Transferring someone from a wheelchair to a car is not easy. While some people are active and can get into an automobile by themselves, others have to be handled with a lot of care to avoid damage or injury. As such, it is essential to know the technique of wheelchair transfer before executing the task.

Manual method:
  • When adopting the manual method, first thing you need to do is lock the wheelchair. As you’ll be using your hands to execute other tasks, this will keep the machine from moving. In case you’re in a slanted driveway, locking becomes all the more important. Also, make sure you leave enough space when securing the chair so that the car door can be opened easily.
  • Once done, open the door and clean the seat you are planning to place the person on. Move the wheelchair close to the vehicle, leaving very little space. Lock the wheelchair again and pick the person up.
  • Stand in front of the individual and put your knees against their legs. Now place your arms around their waist and lift the body with your legs. Turn towards the vehicle while moving the person and placing their bottom side on the seat. Once they are seated, lift their legs and place them in the vehicle.
  • Secure seatbelts to ensure complete safety.
Use Of Equipment:
In case accessing the seat from a wheelchair is difficult, there are a variety of equipments and tools that can be used, such as a leg lifter, turning cushion, push up bar, glide sheet, handling belt, transfer board, and the like.

Turning cushion
This is essentially a double layered cushion that is fixed on top of the seat. The top layer rotates to decrease the tension on the person's hips or back when getting into the car. Also, if the patent has problems in lifting his/her legs, a leg lifter can be used.

Transfer boards
These boards are curved, angled or straight and are used to bridge the gap between the car seat and the wheelchair for a person who cannot manage a standing transfer. The machine is placed next to the driver's seat and the wheelchair bound individual has to lean over a little so the board can be positioned under him/her. The person then has to transfer through the board either with help or independently.

Fixed tip up plate
A fixed tip up plate is fitted to a vehicle. It is leveled with the car seat and is used to slide a person from the wheelchair. It can be removed when not needed.

Handling Belt
This is a padded belt placed around the waist of an individual to offer support when being moved to a car seat. These belts have hand grips at the sides that help the carrier in gaining more control when handling the disabled. It is extremely comfortable for the individual being repositioned, in comparison to being ‘hugged' or held by clothes when being transferred onto a car seat. It also decreases the strain on the carrier.

One of the obstacles that caregivers and wheelchair bound patients alike face is getting in and out of a car safely. If done without any planning, disaster can strike and lead to injury. But, if the technique of proper transfer is mastered, it can bring about a lot of freedom for the patient for years to come and help him/her enjoy a better life. It is also believed that people who have been disabled live a longer life when they can travel easily by getting in the vehicle, and getting out easily.

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