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This particular transfer often requires the individual’s assistance, so clear communication is essential. If the individual cannot direct their own care or express their needs, you’ll need two people or a sling lift.

Step 1 - Secure Wheelchair

  • Position and lock the wheelchair near the bed.
  • Remove the armrest nearest to the bed and remove the footrests from the wheelchair (removing footrests can prevent tripping hazards.)
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer Step 1

Step 2 - Help the Individual Sit Up & Face the Wheelchair

  • Put your arm under the individual with your hand supporting the area between their shoulder blades; put your other hand under the knees.
  • Swing the individual legs over the edge of the bed, helping the individual to sit up.
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer Step 2

Step 3 - Stand the Individual Up

  • Have the individual seated near the edge of the bed.
  • If the individual can sit unassisted, now is a good time to put on skid-proof socks or shoes or apply a gait belt.
  • Put your arms around the individual’s chest, and clasp your hands behind their back. Or, you may also want to use a gait belt to provide a firm handhold.
  • Supporting the leg farthest from the wheelchair between your legs, lean back, shift your weight, and lift. If the client can assist, be sure to agree on the transfer plan and “count” to ensure the individual assists as much as possible with the lift.
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer Step 3

Step 4 - Pivot Toward the Wheelchair

  • Have the individual pivot toward the chair, as you continue to clasp your hands around the individual.
  • If you have a helper, they can support the wheelchair or individual from behind.
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer Step 4

Step 5 - Sit the Individual Down

  • As the individual bends toward you, bend your knees, and lower the individual into the back of the wheelchair.
  • A helper may position the individual buttocks and support the wheelchair.
  • Reposition the footrests and the individual’s feet.
  • Reattach the armrest on the wheelchair
  • Apply safety restraints if applicable
  • Unlock the wheelchair
Bed to Wheelchair Transfer Step 5