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. This transfer technique can also be used when transferring an individual from a bed to a bedside commode.

Step 1 - Setting Up

  • Bring the wheelchair or assistive device to the toilet. Make sure to stabilize and/or lock the wheelchair you are transferring the individual from.

  • Remove the wheelchair footrests.

  • During transfers focus on the individual’s side with lesser mobility.  For example, if the right leg needs more support, plant your left foot and leg against their right. This will guard the weaker leg and provide more leverage during transfer.

Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Step 1

Step 2 - Stand the Individual Up

  • Have the individual shift forward towards you and the end of the wheelchair. Make sure the individual’s feet are planted on the floor and their legs are positioned as if to stand up.

  • Communicate with the individual when you plan to move and provide a countdown to prepare for the transfer.

  • Place your hands along the individual’s hips or on each side of the gait belt to help guide their movement.  Make sure the individual’s arms are on the armrests and that the top of their body is leaning forward into you.

  • On the count have the individual push up off of the armrests as you lift with proper technique.

Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Step 2

Step 3 - Pivot Towards the Toilet

  • Once in the standing position, slowly pivot and shuffle the individual in a clockwork motion towards their stronger side, and towards the toilet.

  • When the individual is directly in front of the toilet seat, slowly guide them backward until contact is made with the toilet and the back of their legs.

  • While you support them, the individual removes undergarments to prepare for sitting on the toilet. For individuals unable to assist in removing their own clothing, you will want to remove the clothing prior to performing the transfer. If clothing removal is an issue, you may want to look into obtaining a commode wheelchair or bedside commode.

Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Step 3

Step 4 - Sit the Individual Down

  • Have the individual reach back for the armrest with one hand at a time to support their downward movement as you get in a position to lower them onto the toilet.

  • Lower the individual onto the toilet seat using proper lifting technique.

  • After the individual is comfortably and securely onto the toilet seat, allow them privacy (if they are not a fall risk). Stay close by, in case help is needed.

  • Once the individual is finished, apply gloves and provide detailed pericare to prevent skin injuries or assist with any cleaning as needed. The caregiver should remove and dispose of their gloves, wash and dry their hands, then proceed on with the transfer back.

Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Step 4

Step 5 - Transfer Back to Wheelchair

  • Assist the individual into to a standing position, reapply undergarments, proceed with the transfer back to the locked wheelchair, and lower them back down into the chair using your legs.

Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Step 5