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Thread: tips for car transfers

  1. #1
    Senior Member omeleteman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Rio de Janeiro-Brazil

    tips for car transfers

    Hi there!
    I started doing transfers into and out of cars very recently this month.

    I know that each one has a way of doing this but It would be very helpful for us if tips from people who do it easily would be available.

    In my case, for instance, I find it more difficult to get out of the car to the wheelchair than the opposite.
    I usually get confused with legs in and out of the car and the cushion "folds" sometimes under my butt.
    I'm a T 3/4 para.

  2. #2
    Most important for me is putting my legs in the place I 'hope' to end up. For example before getting out of the car I put my legs outside the vehicle. In order to stop our cushion from folding put velcro on the bottom ( with corresponding strips on the seat of your chair. I still have a hard time getting ot of a car by myself ( becase of the uphill) and have had my share of near disasters. Another thing that trips me up is getting my butt stuck on the edge of contour seat backs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Bensalem, PA
    Emi's so right about putting your legs where you want to go; it really helps. Are you using a sliding board? That could help, and that's what I started out on. How about an "oh sh*t" handle in the car? You know, some cars have handles on the ceiling next to the window that you can reach up and grab? Those are a big help and can often mean the difference between getting in and out of a car by myself or needing assistance. If I'm getting in the passenger side of a car, I reach up with my right hand, grab that handle and use it to lift my butt up and swing myself into the seat.

    Also, try this if you need just a bit of assistance (like getting your butt over the wheel of your chair or over a car's wheel well): For getting out of a car's passenger side, have your assistant stand behind your chair (which should be next to you, as close as possible, with enough room left for your feet between it and the door) and bend from the knees. Put both feet outside the car and scoot your butt forward. At this point, I find it helpful to put my right foot on my wheelchair's foot rest. Now have your assistant grab the back of your jeans/pants-- make sure they get a good handful of fabric in the middle, not a belt loop and have them be mindful of ripping your pants. Unless you're wearing pants made out of really thin material, your pants shouldn't rip. But belt loops will almost always rip. Once your assistant has a good grip, count to three and have your assistant lift your butt up and swing it over to the chair.

    I find this works really great for me as it takes very little effort on the part of my assistant and is so simple. There's no heavy lifting involved because it's sort of like using physics to your advantage.

    Just be careful with a couple of things. If your assistant lifts too quickly (or thinks you're heavier than you really are), you can hit your head on the window of the car door. And your assistant will have to figure out which hand to use and which way it should be turned (palm to your back or palm toward him or herself) so as not to twist their wrist, find out what's most comfortable and what works best for them. I believe my boyfriend has found that it's best if he uses his right hand (with left hand braced on the car or my wheelchair push handle) with the palm facing toward him.

    It's all trial and error, and your "style" may just change over the years due to all kinds of different factors (like, "Oops, I think we left the sliding board on the roof of the car and it flew off at some point." ) Anyway, good luck!


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