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Moving a patient from bed to a wheelchair

Pivot turn; Transfer from bed to wheelchair

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Description

Follow these steps to move a patient from bed to a wheelchair. The technique below assumes the patient can stand on at least one leg.

If the patient cannot use at least one leg, you will need to use a lift to transfer the patient.

Preparation

Think through the steps before you act, and get help if you need it. If you are not able to support the patient by yourself, you could injure yourself and the patient.

Make sure any loose rugs are out of the way to prevent slipping. You may want to put non-skid socks or shoes on the patient's feet if the patient needs to step onto a slippery surface.

The following steps should be followed:

Getting a Patient Ready to Transfer

Before transferring into the wheelchair, the patient must be sitting.

Allow the patient to sit for a few moments, in case the patient feels dizzy when first sitting up.

The following steps should be followed when getting ready to transfer a patient:

Pivot Turn

If you have a gait belt, place it on the patient to help you get a grip during the transfer. During the turn, the patient can either hold onto you or reach for the wheelchair.

Stand as close as you can to the patient, reach around the chest, and lock your hands behind the patient or grab the gait belt.

The following steps should be followed:

If the patient starts to fall during the transfer, lower the person to the nearest flat surface, bed, chair or floor.

References

American Red Cross. Assisting with positioning and transferring. In: American Red Cross. American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training Textbook. 3rd ed. American National Red Cross; 2013:chap 12.

Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M. Body mechanics and positioning. In: Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M, eds. Clinical Nursing Skills: Basic to Advanced Skills. 9th ed. New York, NY: Pearson; 2017:chap 12.

Timby BK. Assisting the inactive client. In: Timby BK, ed. Fundamentals of nursing skills and concepts. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkens; 2017:unit 6.

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Review Date: 10/9/2019  

Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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