What's the best way to transfer someone from a wheelchair to a vehicle?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 21, 2016
Ladl77 asked...

Does anyone have any advice on transferring someone from a wheelchair to a vehicle? I had a very difficult time with my mother during a doctor's visit this morning. I fear I will not be able to take her to her preferred providers much longer simply because I cannot lift her and she is very uncooperative (won't do what I tell her...grab here, etc.) while trying to load.


Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Transferring from a wheelchair to a car seat is difficult, as it involves multiple steps. Many car seats are low to the ground, so that can pose a challenge as well, especially if someone is unsteady or has painful knees. If your mother is uncooperative, it may be because she is afraid of falling during the transfer, and it is hard to focus when you are afraid.

For the transfer, you should bring her wheelchair next to the car, with her feet facing the open car door. She should stand, place her hands on your shoulders, and you should pivot her slowly into the car, minding her head (so she doesn't get bumped by the car roof). If the front seat is too low, you can try doing this in the back seat instead, which is sometimes more elevated.

If this is still unsuccessful, you could always have your health care provider ask for a Physical Therapy consult, so they can come to your home and work with you and her on this transfer.

My other thought would be to instead use a wheelchair van/taxi service to send her to the appointments, so that way she doesn't have to get out of the wheelchair at all to transfer. You can look online or in the phone book for local transport services that offer this. Good luck!