HANDICAPS WELFARE ASSOCIATION

an organisation of the disabled for the disabled by the disabled

How to Help a Wheelchair User?

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Why people depend on wheelchairs


…..because of injury, illness or disability, they require the wheelchair to provide them with mobility so that they can

  1. 1. Live an independent life
  2. 2. Work or go to school
  3. 3. Move around on their own (where possible)

It’s time to learn if you don’t know about the proper wheelchair handling techniques…..

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Parts of a wheelchair as shown:

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How to Fold and Unfold a Wheelchair

To unfold most wheelchairs…..

  1. 1. Push down on both sides of the seat, keeping fingers inwards.
  2. 2. Don’t force open the chair and never put your fingers between the frame and seat in case they get trapped.

To fold most wheelchairs….

  1. 1. Remove cushion (if any)
  2. 2. Adjust the footrest, rotate them out or remove them.
  3. 3. Hold the midpoint of the seat at the font and back, pull upwards.

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How to tilt a wheelchair backwards

  1. 1. Always warn the occupant of your intention
  2. 2. Push down the tipping lever with your foot and the same time, pull back and down on the handles

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Getting up & down the kerbs safely

Getting up kerbs safely


 

  1. 1. Position the wheelchair so that the front wheels almost touch the kerb
  2. 2. Inform the occupant of your intention
  3. 3. Grip handles firmly, tilt the wheelchair backwards and balance the wheelchair on its rear wheels
  4. 4. Place the front wheels onto the pavement
  5. 5. Push the wheelchair until it reaches the kerb
  6. 6. Lift the wheelchair onto the pavement

 

Getting down the kerbs safely

  1. 1. Position the wheelchair on top of the kerb
  2. 2. Tilt the wheelchair and balance the wheelchair on its rear wheels and move backward
  3. 3. Lower the rear wheels against the kerb while supporting some of the chair’s weight
  4. 4. Make sure both rear wheels touch the ground gently and at the same time
  5. 5. Gently lower the front wheels

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Getting up & down the Stairs Safely

Getting up stairs safely


…use a lift or ramp if one is available, do not go up single-handedly unless you must

  1. 1. Back the wheelchair to the first step
  2. 2. Grip handles firmly and tilt the wheelchair back
  3. 3. Place one foot on the first step and the other one above
  4. 4. Lean back, taking the weight of the chair and gently pull chair up the first step
  5. 5. Always keep your weight and the wheelchair in balance as you move up the stairs

 

Going down stairs safely


…again, look for a ramp. If a ramp is not available

  1. 1. Take the wheelchair in a frontward manner down the steps
  2. 2. Grip the handles firmly and tilt the wheelchair, balancing on the rear wheels
  3. 3. Move the wheelchair to the top of the first step
  4. 4. Use your body as brake while gently lowering the wheelchair
  5. 5. Control the descend with your body, keeping the rear wheels tight against the stair edge and roll the wheelchair forward and down the step
  6. 6. Don’t let the chair drop unevenly or too quickly

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Going down a steep but short slope or ramp

If it is a short but steep slope, it may be advisable to go down backward to prevent the person in the wheelchair from tipping out.

 

  1. 1. Make sure the path of travel is clear
  2. 2. Grip the handles firmly to prevent the wheelchair from sliding backwards
  3. 3. Take steps backwards one step at a time
  4. 4. Control the descend and ensure that the wheelchair does not roll down too quickly as you will loose control of it

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Keeping the wheelchair in a Car Boot
  • Remove cushions, armrest, footrest and other removable parts
  • Fold the wheelchair and engage brakes to prevent wheels from spinning
  • Position folded wheelchair parallel to the boot
  • Bend your knees keeping your back straight
  • Grip the wheelchair by the frame
  • Lift the wheelchair and balance it on the boot edge (your legs may be used to raise the wheelchair)
  • Slide the wheelchair into the boot

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Think Safely and Comfort when Assisting
  • Aim for smooth gentle moves, avoid rushing and rough handling
  • Always ask for help if you have doubts about your abilities
  • Ask the wheelchair user how she or he prefers to be moved, lifted, etc

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What You Can Do

 

  • Ask how you can help
  • Talk to a person in a wheelchair at the same eye level
  • Do inform the person in the wheelchair of your intention e.g. when tilting the wheelchair
  • Make sure the seat belt (if any) if fastened before moving off
  • Apply the brakes when the wheelchair is stationary, when transferring and when leaving the wheelchair unattended
  • Ask the person in the wheelchair if they are comfortable especially if they have been transferred
  • Always maintain at least one wheelchair length behind another “pusher”
  • Ask for assistance if you cannot overcome an obstacle
  • Look ahead to avoid sudden changes in level and other hazards
  • Look out for drain gratings and approach in a diagonal manner
  • Push wheelchair on the walkway rather than on the main road (if possible)

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What You Should Not Do
  1. 1. Don’t talk to a disabled person through a third person
  2. 2. Don’t race when you are with a wheelchair user
  3. 3. Don’t force a wheelchair to move if it is stuck – see what the problem is and try to correct it
  4. 4. Don’t use the escalator when you are with a wheelchair user if you are not sure how to handle it
  5. 5. Never lift a wheelchair by the armrest, wheels or any detachable or movable parts
  6. 6. Don’t go down a steep slope in a forward manner
  7. 7. Never tip the wheelchair forward or too far back
  8. 8. Don’t go down a short steep slope in a forward manner

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