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Double Amputation: Chair to Bed Transfer

This page is for people who have had a double amputation of the lower extremities (limbs). It may take you some time to get used to using your wheelchair, especially when you move from the chair to bed. Below are tips for making the transfer from wheelchair to bed safely.

Wheelchair to bed

  1. Wheel your chair to the side of the bed. You should be facing the side of the bed head-on (perpendicular to the bed, see picture at right).
  2. Swing away the wheelchair’s leg rests.
  3. Roll your wheelchair as close to the bed as possible. Try not to leave any gap between the chair and the bed. Lock the wheelchair’s brakes.
  4. Put your hands and arms on the wheelchair’s arm rests. You will use your arms to support some of your body’s weight. “Walk” your legs forward by shifting your weight from side to side. Continue shifting and moving until you are completely on the bed. Then you can position yourself comfortably (see picture right).

Bed to wheelchair

  1. Be sure the wheelchair is facing the bed with little or no gap between the chair and the bed. Be sure the brakes are locked.
  2. Sit on the edge of the bed with your back toward the locked wheelchair (see picture at right).
  3. Reach backward for the arms of the chair. Use your arms to support your weight as you lift yourself up and back into the chair.
  4. Unlock the brakes and wheel away from the bed so you can swing the wheelchair’s leg rests back into place.

General tips

  • Always lock the wheelchair before any transfer.
  • Whether getting into or out of bed, put the wheelchair closer to the head of the bed. This makes it easier to position yourself on the bed.
  • Before moving in or out of bed, get rid of extra blankets or items that might get in
    your way.
  • When scooting backwards, lean your body forward so your head is over your knees.
  • Try to plan the transfer so the surfaces you are moving to and from are the same height. For example, it is difficult to move from a low wheelchair to a high bed.
  • Use a wheelchair with anti-tipping devices.

Your physical therapist may show you other ways to make safe transfers depending on your physical condition and home setting.

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