Transferring into the Car from a Wheelchair

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.

Step 1 - Setting Up

  • Bring the wheelchair or assistive device to the passenger side door where the individual will be seated.
  • Open the car door, unbuckle the seat belt, and move the seat back to allow for adequate transfer space.
  • Make sure to stabilize and/or lock the device you are transferring the individual from. This ensures safety and helps to prevent falls and injuries.
Wheelchair to Car Transfer Header Step 1

Step 2 - Stand & Pivot (Bear Hug) Lift & Lower

  • Squat face-to-face with the individual and wrap your arms around the individual under the armpits with your hands clasped behind the individual’s back like a hug. Please note that the use of a gait belt can help with a single person transfer.
  • Plant your foot, the one farthest from the destination location, between the individual’s legs for leverage.
  • Lift (using proper lifting technique) and pivot the individual to a new location.Communicate with the individual when you plan to move and count to ensure the individual is helping with the transfer as much as possible. If an individual is able to bear weight on either or both legs, allow them to do so for easier pivoting.
  • Lower the individual into the car using the proper lifting technique and watch their head for clearance under the car.
Wheelchair-to-car-transfer-step-2
Wheelchair-to-car-transfer-step-2a
Wheelchair-to-car-transfer-step-2b

Step 3 - Leg Swing Into The Car

  • Once the individual is seated safely ensure one of your hands is still supporting the individual’s back near the shoulder blades; put your other hand under the knees and swing the individual’s legs into the car while you guide their body into the seat.

Step 4 - Secure the Individual

  • Once the individual is seated comfortably, buckle their seatbelt, and close the car door.
Wheelchair-to-Car-Transfer-Header-Step-4

Transferring out of the Car and into a Wheelchair

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.

Step 1 - Setting Up

  • Bring the wheelchair or assistive device to the passenger side door where the individual is seated.
  • Make sure to stabilize and/or lock the device you are transferring the individual to. Move the wheelchair footrests out of the way if applicable.
  • Open the car door and unbuckle the individual.
Wheelchair-to-Car-Transfer-Header

Step 2 - Leg Swing out of the Car

  • Ask the individual to lean forward while you place your left arm behind their back and your right arm underneath their knees.
  • While supporting their back, swing the individual’s legs up and out of the car towards you and onto the ground.
Wheelchair to Car Transfer Header Step 4

Step 3 - Stand & Pivot (Bear Hug) Lift & Lower

  • Squat face-to-face with the individual and wrap your arms around the individual under the armpits with your hands clasped behind the individual’s back like a hug. Please note that the use of a gait belt can help with a single person transfer.
  • Lift (using proper lifting technique) and pivot the individual to a new location.
  • Communicate with the individual when you plan to move and count to ensure the individual is helping with the transfer as much as possible. If an individual is able to bear weight on either or both legs, allow them to do so for easier pivoting.
  • Pivot and transfer them back into the wheelchair. Allow the individual to assist you as much as they can.
  • Slowly lower the individual in the wheelchair using proper lifting technique.
Lift & Pivot Out of Car

Step 4 - Secure the Individual

  • Place the individual’s footrest in the proper position for them.
  • Keep your hand on their shoulder as you move behind the wheelchair to ensure they do not fall forward.
  • Apply seatbelt or other wheelchair safety devices From behind the wheelchair, place your arms under the individual’s armpits and pull/slide them back into the wheelchair in an upright position.
Secure the individual