Wheelchair management is that unspoken difficulty that not many think about until they are face to face with the difficulty of dealing with it.
Have you been there? You've got this great mode of mobility and need to take your disabled loved one to the doctor. No problem!
You've read through the car transfer tips and have that mastered safely. Now, you need that
wheelchair because you know that parking is scarce! Managing that wheelchair into the car is enough to cause enough stress to cancel any outing.
Help has arrived! As a home health care physical therapist for fifteen years, I've learned that leverage is my best friend when
it comes to tossing that unmanageable wheelchair in the trunk...
Ready? Set? Go... manage that wheelchair!
If you don't do anything else recommended here for wheelchair management, DO THIS! Take the wheelchair to the back of the car,
trunk open, and lock the back wheels.
Those back wheels are huge and about the only thing to grab to sling that thing anywhere! Unlocked, that chair will swing all
over the place to equalize that weight making it highly unmanageable. Locked wheels are your first step to a safe and effective
wheelchair management plan of attack.
Wheels locked? No? Return to tip #1!
Yes? Now, grasp the front and the back portion of the seat and pull straight up. This one is quite simple but may need a gentle
shake to get it going. As you pull the sling seat up, the sides will come together folding the chair.
The best way to manage unfolding the wheelchair is to set the chair down on it's wheels and push down on the two side bars that
the seat sling attaches to. Again a gentle shake will rumble the chair back to it's full open position and ready for use.
Wheels locked? It's worth repeating! Parallel the chair with your back bumper. Bend your knees a bit and, keeping your back straight,
lean the top part of the locked wheel closest to you onto your mid thigh. Now, grab the locked wheels at the 10 and 2 o'clock position.
Using your legs as the pivot fulcrum, pull the chair parallel allowing it to pivot on your thigh. Clear the chair from the bumper and
trunk threshold. A baby step or two should be enough to let the chair slide over the threshold and into the trunk.
Using this leverage, you will be surprised at how much more manageable the wheelchair becomes. You can outsmart that chair!
Managing that chair OUT of the trunk is more of tug of war but reversing the order (easy on paper!) is the best way to go about
it. Keep your back straight while bending at the hips. If the tug of war requires a lot of back bending, keep your back straight
while kicking one leg back and up in the air. This will allow you to keep your back straight and free from tug of war strain!
The wheelchair all of a sudden becomes more manageable. All trunks are not created equal, I know. But this is the gist and the
easiest way I have found in 15 years of teaching patients and caregivers safe and effect vehicle transfers.
The trunk thresh hold may have a few scratches on it, but car's can always be replaced. Time out of the house for and with your
loved one is irreplaceable.
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Your Tips and Tricks
There are many ways to skin a cat and although my tips and tricks are what has worked the best for me... I would love to hear from you.
This is where you can share your secret recipes for wheelchair management success and car transfers.
You and Your Wheelchair
- Give us your wheelchair management tips:
- How do you accomplish transfers?
- How do you get the chair in the car?
- Help thousands in your situation!
Our number one wheelchair management resource helps wheelchair bound patients make their mission possible!